ANC presidential candidate and former African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma says if she loses at the party’s 54th national elective conference in December, she’ll continue working for the ANC.
Dlamini Zuma, who has preached unity since accepting her nomination as the ANC’s next leader and possibly the first women to lead the party, yesterday told a packed stadium at an ANC Women’s League mini-rally in KwaMhlanga outside Pretoria that those who lose at the conference should work with the winners to move the party forward.
And would she work with Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa if he emerged victorious? In a one-on-one interview with Independent Media, Dlamini Zuma simply replied: “He (Ramaphosa) doesn’t own the organisation. No one does. I’m a member of the ANC and I will continue with the work. I’m a cadre of the organisation.”
Dlamini Zuma, who has faced a barrage of criticism on her presidential campaign, lashed out at her detractors, saying they were hellbent on tarnishing her image because she carries the Zuma surname.
“They are dishonest and they know it. They have never used it against me even when I was at home affairs. He (President Jacob Zuma) appointed me and they said nothing. I went to Addis and nothing was said. They only raise it now when it suits them,” she said.
“When I got divorced it was important to keep my children’s identity. They stayed with the Zuma surname. They wanted to abandon it but I wouldn’t allow it."I have kept that surname for the past 20 years and I won’t change it,” she said.
Responding to suggestions that she will abandon her ambitions to lead the ANC after the Nasrec conference, Dlamini Zuma said quitting had never crossed her mind.
“Some of the challenges I have encountered in this campaign is the media onslaught. They (media) are taking sides and so they are campaigning against me. But these are challenges that half of the nation faces.
"These, however, are not the determining factors of who should become president because the branches have to decide,” she said.
While the ANC Women's League and the ANC Youth League have fully endorsed Dlamini Zuma to take the reins, some have distanced themselves from her campaign, also declining to fund it.
“Fortunately, there are business people in SA who are patriotic and they have no problem with me. Some of them I’m going to be meeting soon. Some of them I’ve already met. They want to contribute towards making a prosperous South Africa. "These are business people who want to contribute towards making SA a better country. So, I’ve no issue with many business people and I think those who are patriotic will come on board because they know we are actually trying to avoid a situation where this country will be unstable.”
The former minister of home affairs said her aim was to focus on the difficulties facing the country which included poverty, unemployment, inequality and violent crime.
“South Africans must contribute to resolving these problems. That is what the crisis is. In my view the crisis is not who becomes president, but how we solve these challenges that face the country.”
Commenting on the political impasse in Zimbabwe, Dlamini-Zuma highlighted that while it was clear Zimbabweans wanted a new leader, she was happy there had been no bloodshed thus far.
“Ideally, if everything went according to plan, we should have had a process where elections took place. However, we are in a different position now.
"What is required is an amicable solution that does not shed blood, but that will take Zimbabwe forward and that is acceptable to Zimbabwe and which is in the interest of the people of that country,” she said.
Dlamini Zuma pointed out that it was vital for protocol to be followed and for South Africa, Africa and the world to listen to the efforts Zimbabwe is making to resolve its own issues and the intervention by the Southern African Development Community.
“As individuals we can’t start imposing our own ideas and views on what is happening in that country.
"We must wait on the pronouncements made by the special envoys, SADC and listen to what the people of Zimbabwe themselves are saying,” she said.