The African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) has assured presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma that the league has got “big plans” for her.
Although the leader’s president Collen Maine refrained from throwing more light on the comment, many, however, believed he made reference to her presidential ambition – which has divided the ANC structures.
Speaking at OR Tambo International Airport, where Dlamini-Zuma landed after officially handing over power in Addis Ababa, Maine described Dlamini-Zuma’s return as timely, urging her not to waste her experience but to use it to help the ANC.
“We know that you are no longer serving there, [African Union], you are not going to be loitering around. The ANC Youth League has big plans for you but we cannot tell it to you now,” Collen said.
The former AU Commission chairwoman concluded her term earlier in 2017. Clad in ANC colors, scores of ANC members shouted “my president” and “welcome the future” as she waves to them at the airport.
Also at the airport were former cabinet spokesman Jimmy Manyi, ANC Limpopo deputy provincial
secretary Makoma Makhurupetje and Dlamini-Zuma’s daughter Thuthukile.
In his contribution, the Youth League’s General Secretary Njabulo Nzuza urged deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa to refrain from campaigning for the ANC top on media platforms since no party branch has endorsed him.
Ramaphosa must refrain from saying he is available to succeed President Jacob Zuma. We cannot have people declaring their availability before they are nominated by formal structures,” he said.
Unlike Ramaphosa, who was endorsed by ANC allies Cosatu and the South African Communist Party in 2016, Zuma’s ex-spouse enjoys support among the ANCYL in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, the Free State, and North West.
The former AU chairperson has also the supports of her husband and his loyalists, including the ANCWL, ANCYL and some organizations.
Dlamini-Zuma is seen as a strong candidate to replace ANC President Jacob Zuma at the party’s National Conference in December while Ramaphosa is seen as her closest and strongest rival.
The ANC Women’s Leagues (ANCYL) also assured Dlamini-Zuma that their decision and support will be made known “at the right time”.
Meokga Matuba said: “We’re not campaigning, we’re waiting for the right time. Off course, you know our decision as the ANCWL and therefore we’re saying to you mama, welcome home.”
In a short speech, Dlamini-Zuma thanked the hundreds of fans who had been waiting for her at the airport for most of the morning.
She assured the crowd that she has learned a lot at AU and will share them when she visits them.
“I am happy to be back home,” an excited Dlamini-Zuma said.
There was no shortage of enthusiasm from a group of close to 400 ANC members at the airport. The supporters were seen singing, dancing and giving South Africa’s new found “future” a lift.