Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has informed the African National Congress that she will not return to Parliament beyond the sixth administration, signalling her intent to effectively retire from public office after over 30 years of public service.
Dlamini Zuma, who will turn 75 at the end of January, is one of the ANC's most senior members having served in the executive since 1994.
The former foreign affairs, health, home affairs and co-operative governance minister, who heads the portfolio for women and children these days, wrote a letter to the ANC electoral committee head Kgalema Motlanthe and secretary-general Fikile Mbalula, informing the party she would not be taking part in any 2024 list interviews as she was not returning to Parliament for the seventh administration.
Her letter reads in part: "My sincere gratitude to the entire leadership of the ANC from national, provincial, regional, and branch levels for affording me the opportunity and support to serve the country and the people of South Africa as a public representative and as a member of cabinet since 1994.
"I also thank all the ANC Presidents under whose leadership and guidance I served as a member of the executive.
"I am eternally grateful for making it possible for me to serve the continent as the first woman at the helm of the African Union Commission and the first Chairperson of the commission from the Southern African Development Community.
"It will not be necessary to schedule the interview for the 2024 national list because I have taken the decision to retire from being a member of the South African Parliament,” she said.
In recent years, Dlamini-Zuma has become somewhat of a thorn for the ANC, openly and publicly defying the ANC multiple times by refusing to take orders from Luthuli House.
In December 2022, she was among a few ANC MPs who voted in contrast with the party line, voting with her conscience for the adoption of the section 89 report advocating for Ramaphosa to be impeached over the Phala Phala saga.
She also failed to show up in the National Assembly where MPs were gathered to vote to boot out former public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
No action was taken against Dlamini-Zuma.
The ANC is currently at the Mbombela Stadium in Mpumalanga celebrating its 112th anniversary.
Ramaphosa is currently delivering the annual January 8 Statement to a packed stadium.
** The article has been updated.