Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the former African Union Commission Chairperson, has finally accepted to vie for the presidency of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), local media have reported.
The News24 portal said Dlamini-Zuma accepted the nomination during an ANC youth league (ANCYL) event held in the town of Limpopo. It came in the same week the league officially threw their backing behind her.
‘‘There is now way I can refuse the responsibility given by the ANC, I accept the nomination,’‘ she is quoted to have said.
There is now way I can refuse the responsibility given by the ANC, I accept the nomination.
Up until now, she had received the endorsement of the party’s women’s wing, its military veterans, her former husband and current ANC president, Jacob Zuma and the ANCYL. She will become the first woman to lead the party if elected.
The race as to who succeeds the embattled Zuma in elections slated for December this year is largely seen as one between Dlamini-Zuma and deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. Ramaphosa, a trade unionist turned businessman is believed to have the backing of powerful trade union groups.
Dlamini-Zuma, a medical doctor and health minister under Nelson Mandela has pledged to bridge the gap between blacks and whites, the source of widening discontent in one of Africa’s most advanced economies over two decades after apartheid rule.
She reiterated that stance during the Limpopo meeting whiles charging the youth to take the forefront in the struggle for the country’s socioeconomic transformation agenda.
‘‘The youth league must find it unacceptable that women, children are abused and killed …. we cannot continue like this when women are raped and killed,’‘ she added.
Her former husband’s reign as president has been dogged by corruption scandals and biting court verdicts on his conduct. Albeit he is able to stay on as head of state till general elections in 2019, there is a call to replace him as leader of the party to mitigate the political damage that the scandals have caused.
The ANC has been split on the issue of Zuma’s leadership with internal calls for him to step down. A recent cabinet reshuffle negatively affected the country’s ratings with a recession – the first in eight years – worsening matters.