ANC presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma wants whoever succeeds President Jacob Zuma as the party’s president in December to unify the deeply divided party.
Dlamini-Zuma, who has emerged as one of the front-runners for the top position, wants whoever emerges victorious to embrace the losing parties.
She also stressed the need for the losing side to fully support the eventual winner.
The former African Union chairwoman was in Malabar in Port Elizabeth yesterday, where she told journalists she was not bothered by the growing number of women presidential hopefuls.
Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu officially availed herself for the party’s presidency in East London on Friday, while ANC chairwoman Baleka Mbete has also thrown her name into the hat.
The three women ANC presidential hopefuls come as some within the ANC-led tripartite alliance have called for the party to elect its first woman president in December.
The stakes are high as whoever succeeds Zuma, will by extension, be the country’s president if the ANC wins the 2019 general and national elections.
Dlamini-Zuma said having more than one female presidential hopeful bode well for the party. “There is a lot of leadership in the ANC but unfortunately for president there has to be one winner.
“The branches will choose as they deem fit as they look at what we call through the eye of the needle, and see which leader at this point in time will be best to lead the organisation.”
While not a single branch or region in the Eastern Cape has publicly declared its support for Dlamini-Zuma, the former cabinet minister said she was confident of the province’s support.
As the second biggest province after KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape will play a key role in deciding who will eventually be elected in December.
Other presidential hopefuls, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and former ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa have in recent months brought their campaign for the party’s top job to the province.
Yesterday was not Dlamini-Zuma’s first visit to the province. Earlier this year she was told by AmaXhosa King Mpendulo Sigcau that she was not ready for the party’s presidency.
“I have been at Amathole, Joe Gqabi and Buffalo City as the ANC leader to do some work.
“Branches will decide the way they want,” she said.
Dlamini-Zuma would not comment on Zuma’s proposal that whoever loses the ANC presidency should automatically become the deputy president, saying that was a matter to be decided by the branches.
During her community outreach, Dlamini-Zuma visited three destitute families and gave them blankets as part of Mandela Day.
She also visited Annedine Daniels, 28, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour when she was 11 and suffered a stroke following an operation.
Annedine’s mother, Elizabeth Daniels, said the visit was very special as it coincided with her 64th birthday today.
“I am sharing a birthday with Mandela,” she said. — DDC