Johannesburg – Former African Union Commission chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has moved to allay fears among party faithful that her election to the ANC presidency will lead to the party losing the elections in 2019.
In an exclusive interview with Independent Media, the ANC presidential hopeful was confident the organisation will do well at the crucial polls under her leadership.
Dlamini Zuma slammed those who linked her campaign to her former husband, President Jacob Zuma, repeating that they were “dishonest and disingenuous”.
“I believe the ANC will actually win (the elections) even better, because it will be a change and not the continuation of what is there now,” she said.
Dlamini Zuma stressed that South Africans knew her track record in government, and this would boost the ANC’s fortunes under her stewardship.
“I’m a cadre who has a vast experience in government and the country can say when I’m in government this is what I have done. South Africans will know that I’m very decisive. I don’t sing about things, I act,” she said.
Dlamini Zuma’s comments came as factions in the governing party entered the final push in the battle for the soul of the ANC.
At the weekend, Dlamini Zuma received the nod to ascend to the party highest office from the ANC’s second biggest province, Mpumalanga, although many branches preferred a candidate, “Unity”, who will unite the party.
North West and the Free State have also thrown their weight behind her, while Western Cape, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape prefer Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
As concerns remained that the conference might collapse, Dlamini Zuma said they had pledged as candidates to ensure the meeting would be a success and its outcomes would be accepted. “Contestations are an exercise of democracy as long as we understand that we are not contesting with enemies; we are contesting with cadres of the organisation, comrades. If we are dealing with comrades, if any of the comrades win, I will be there behind them, supporting them, and I expect the same. That is why I don’t expect a split occasioned by the conference, but I cannot put my head on the block,” she said.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that some in Cosatu and the SACP are pushing the two working-class formations to club together and contest elections if Dlamini Zuma wins the ANC’s presidency.
Dlamini Zuma said it would be a tragedy if the SACP chose to go it alone. “It will not help the SACP, it will subtract from the alliance. There will always be tensions in the alliance, but it should be a healthy tension,” she said.
Dlamini Zuma said her being elected ANC leader would not be the reason behind the SACP’s participation in elections, as the party had already contested the Metsimaholo, Free State municipal by-election last week.
“It will not be because of me, because I’m nowhere, I’m a backbencher in Parliament, but they are contesting already,” she said.
Dlamini Zuma defended herself against her perceived silence on state capture. “Corruption, I don’t think it’s enough to sing about it, I believe that you must deal with it. Maybe I don’t sing enough about it,” she said.
Dlamini Zuma said her priority would be fine-tuning ANC policies for implementation, mainly on education, restructuring of the economy and land reform. She said it was wrong to air concerns outside of the party.
“There is no point of going outside to the world and saying the ANC is dying. What do you want the world to do about that? You must fix what you think is wrong,” she said.
By late yesterday, Ramaphosa was leading the race in terms of nominations, with 1278 compared to Dlamini Zuma’s 772. But numbers were set to change, as KwaZulu-Natal, the ANC’s biggest province, and Limpopo hold their provincial general councils today.
KZN was expected to support Dlamini Zuma and Limpopo to back Ramaphosa.