South Africa’s anti apartheid activist and AU chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma blames the ANC’s massive defeat at the polls in major metros during the local government elections on the party leaders who she said have become too weak to carry on the visions of the party.
The AU chair who is also a potential future president of South Africa told President Jacob Zuma and his deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, at a Women’s Day celebration in Pretoria on Tuesday, that South Africa could not afford weak leadership who will in turn make the country weaker.
Though the governing ANC achieved an overall national victory in the latest polls, it was left in a significantly weaker position in major metros across the country, including losing Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay to the DA.
The party’s devastating losses at the polls has however been blamed on the leadership of President Jacob Zuma who in turn is facing huge criticism and a renewed call to step down.
Dlamini-Zuma said “If South Africa is weak and the leaders of South Africa are weak, the continent is weak, so we owe it to those women, president of South Africa and deputy president, that this country must be strong,”
According to her also, the African continent is looking up to South Africa as the AU, but if the country becomes politically and economically weak, other countries in the continent will follow suite
She who said she had been getting calls from AU members who were shocked by the ANC’s election misfortunes at the election, said she has been asked if it was “as bad as it looked” but she did not know what to say.
“So we must not squander the hard-won freedom Sophie de Bruyn and others [leaders of the 1956 women’s march to the Union Buildings] fought for. How can we? she added.
Dlamini-Zuma was supposed to return to South Africa in October, after her tenure as AU chair ended. However, the AU was unable to select her successor for the position, forcing the group to hold new elections in January 2017, extending Dlamini-Zuma’s tenure by 6 months.
Speaking about the role of South African women in the growth and development of the country, the AU chair said South Africa must salute its women and ensure that “we will never squander their sacrifices”.
She said the women who marched to the Union Buildings to protest against the pass laws were given no money to organise their protest but that used the little they had. She lamented that “today we have an enhanced sense of entitlement”.
She said the women’s league “encouraged peaceful demonstration but not what happened at the IEC”.
“That made headlines to the society that is still fractured and still in the thrall of bitter political campaigning. It does not take us forward in the fight against key drivers of sexual violence and persistent levels of inequality between men and women in this society.
“We cannot dismantle patriarchy when we, as women, consciously and unconsciously collude with patriarchy by using the ongoing war on women’s bodies to fight and defend what is essentially a fight for power between elite men in our society,” she said.
Dlamini-Zuma, along with other politicians such as deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa and Baleka Mbete, have been pegged potential leaders of the ANC and possibly the country but the delay to get a successor for her position could possibly work against her bid for the top job, as president Zuma’s position remains shaky following the ANC’s defeat at the polls.