ANC Presidential Race: Bathabile Dlamini Defies ANC Directives Again

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The African national Congress Women League (ANCWL) leader Bathabile Dlamini has once again ignored instructions from the ANC governing body not to publicly make remarks about President Zuma’s successor.

Since the beginning of the year, top leaders in the ANC, including President Zuma have weighed in on the race, barring the party’s leaders and affiliates from endorsing any candidate publicly, since the elective debate is yet to get underway.

But in a church service held at the Faith Gospel Ministries Church in Khutsong, on Sunday, February 4, ANCWL leader Dlamini Bathabile transgressed against the order while speaking on the theme ‘Women in Leadership’.

A peppy Bathabile told the crowd that though the league was barred from touching on the matter – for now, it will vote for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma for the next ANC president.

Read Also: ANC Succession Race: Zuma Announces Post-Leadership Plans

Heaping praises on Dlamini-Zuma, Bathabile Dlamini described her as a fearless simple woman who listens with two ears and never runs away from her ‘tongue.’

The ANCWL leader crowned her speech by throwing more bouquets at the female presidential candidate. She also likened her to Jesus – who was bold and humble during his days on earth.

Bathabile said “we are on a campaign and the NEC (national executive committee) said we should not campaign until the right time. But we will campaign for someone humble. Like Jesus, Dlamini-Zuma is both a lion and a lamb.”

In a separate speech delivered by Dlamini-Zuma at the occasion, she openly announced that she wants to succeed Zuma as ANC president when he steps down in December and, by extension, the country’s president in 2019.

The former AU Chairperson warned that if she fails to succeed President Zuma, it would be a major setback for Africa’s developmental agenda, which lacked women and young people.

Making references to her success in AU, she described women as unifiers and compassionate peacemakers and appealed to African governments to “emancipate” women by giving them the opportunity to become first citizens and legal eagles.

Also in attendance were: Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) chairperson Kebby Maphatsoe, Cogta Minister Des van Rooyen, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa and her International Relations and Co-operation counterpart, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

Dlamini-Zuma’s presence at the church marks her first public appearance in South Africa since her term as AU Commission chairperson ended.

ANC Presidential Race So Far



So far, two candidates dominated the race – Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa.

Though the two candidates are at the forefront of the race, Dlamini-Zuma’s supporters outnumber that of Ramaphosa by a small margin. This is because she enjoys the support of President Zuma’s support and that of the various ANC structures, including Zuma’s loyal cadres, the youth and women’s leagues.

Ramaphosa, a pragmatic former trade unionist, is not having it all rosy after Zuma took a thinly-veiled swipe at him last month. But he enjoys the support of COSATU and SACP youth wing – the Young Communists League (YCL).

Four ANC Heavyweights Have Been Touted As Possible Successors

The upcoming ANC elective conference is definitely going to be the turning point in the history of South Africa’s democracy, with four other candidates ready lock horns for the top post.

Other heavyweights tipped to be marching down to the ring include National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe, Lindiwe Sisulu, Zweli Mkhize and David Mabuza.

The fight for the crown might get a little hotter between Dlamini-Zuma, Mbete, and Sisulu since the ANC announced that the party and the country at large are ready for a female president. So definitely, it’ not going to be a kid glove assignment.

Nkosazana (left) Mbete (centre) Lindiwe (right)

The ANC Has Formed Factions Around The Two Frontrunners

Although there are still several months to go before ANC delegates vote on who replaces Zuma as party leader, members of the ANC have formed factions around Dlamini-Zuma and Ramaphosa.

Political analysts in the country believe Ramaphosa lacks a strong constituency and may have to deal directly with the premiers if he must cross the hurdle comfortably.

Read Also: At Last, Baleka Mbete Takes A Stand On ANC Succession Battles

At lease 4,500 delegates will vote at the December conference,  a conference, which many believe, is the most critical for the party since 1994.

Nevertheless, many pragmatic analysts are not betting for Dlamini-Zuma because they believe once she ascends the throne, she might shelter Zuma – whose tenure has been plagued by corruption allegations – from being prosecuted.

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