Recent reports making the rounds have it that presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is fast losing support in ANC structures all over the country.
These reports claim that some factors responsible for the former African Union (AU) chairperson’s major setbacks are tied to her relationship with President Jacob Zuma and also the controversy surrounding growing calls for a female president ahead of the ruling party’s 54th elective conference coming up in December 2017.
But ANC Chairperson in KwaZulu-Natal, Sihle Zikalala, has downplayed speculations that the strength of the newly ANC MP’s presidential campaign is fast shrinking.
Speaking on Radio 702 on Tuesday, Zikalala said his interations with ANC structures on the party’s leadership race and their preferred presidential candidate clearly indicated that Dr. Dlamini-Zuma is much loved and has a strong support in most bases, contrary to widespread speculation.
“There are many people who are supporting Nkosazana in Gauteng. I interact with branches all over‚ and I know Nkosazana has great support in Gauteng. All over the country‚ Nkosazana is stronger in the ANC,” the KZN chairperson said.
Furthermore, he also set the record straight regarding claims that Dr. Dlamini-Zuma is President Zuma’s candidate and plans to protect him from facing charges if she wins the election.
Zikalala asserted that those speculating that to elect Nkosazana is about defending President Zuma are apparently wrong and deceptive because Zuma has no preferred candidate and has never picked his ex-wife to succeed him.
On December 18, the ANC will have to elect a new president at its much-anticipated make-or-mar elective conference.
So far, six candidates are in for the battle. But already, Dlamini-Zuma and Zuma’s deputy Cyril Ramaphosa have stolen the show, as all attention are on them.
While many critics, including within the ANC want Ramaphosa – a business mogul – to succeed Zuma in accordance with the ruling party’s tradition, pro-Zuma cadres, including the president himself are said to be fighting against Ramaphosa presidential bid.
Both to contenders have got for themselves an impressive number of supporters in many provinces across the country, outsmarting the remaining four aspirants, who apparently are behind them.
Last week, both Dlamini-Zuma and Ramaphosa dramatically received endorsements from the North West province and Eastern Cape province – respectively.
While Zuma’s deputy enjoys COSATU, NUM, SACP’s support, his chief rival has the support of the ANCWL, ANCYL, and others.