African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) Ethekwini secretary Thinta Cibane has lashed out at those referring to ANC presidential candidate, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, as the ‘ex-wife’ of Jacob Zuma, saying critics were using the term to discredit her.
"That view is patriarchal and we don’t live in a patriarchal society. Why don’t people refer to president Zuma as the ex-husband? It is unacceptable and insulting that Nkosazana is referred to as ex-wife as if she has no credentials of her own," said a furious Cibane.
He described Dlamini-Zuma as the longest serving government deployee and a struggle stalwart with an impeccable track record which spoke for itself.
"She has proven her worth through hard work and does not need to be referred to as the ex-wife of anyone as a description of her value," he said.
His comments came as the provincial ANCYL was formally expected to announce their endorsement of Dlamini-Zuma on Monday.
Cibane also rubbished a recent Durban survey which found deputy president and leadership front runner Cyril Ramaphosa to be the hot favourite to take over as ANC leader when the party made its decision at its elective conference this December.
"People who conducted the survey clearly have no idea how the ANC nomination process works. We don’t nominate through surveys. We have a clearly guided process of nomination which involves all branches."
He said the idea of using a survey to show the preferred candidate was foreign to the ANC.
"We don't work that way. Everyone knows that Nkosazana is a front runner, she has support amongst the people and there is no question she will emerge the victor," he added.
However, Durban political analyst Protas Madlala has dismissed the Youth League’s concerns.
"Please, they must go back to school. An ex-wife is an ex-wife. What’s wrong with referring to her as such? They have a lot to learn."
He did however, agree somewhat, with how much weight the survey really held.
"I wouldn’t put too much of emphasis on the survey, they can and do get it wrong. Having said that, I do think Cyril will emerge because he is not hungry so will be less corruptible," Madlala said.
The succession debate has split the ANC as comrades have turned on each other in a jostle for positions beyond the elective conference where Zuma is expected to be replaced.
But, while KZN’s eThekwini region has traditionally been seen as the party’s largest region and "king maker" in the leadership battle for the ANC, divisions within the party over factions have left the province deeply divided.
Whether they can still claim their place as king maker is left to be seen.