Former African Union (AU) commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma officially launched her African National Congress (ANC) presidential campaign on Sunday.
Although she did not directly speak about accepting the nomination to run for president, a church service hosted by the Faith Ministry Church and the ANC Women’s League was seen as setting off her campaign since her return from Addis Ababa.
“Africa needs more women presidents,” said Dlamini-Zuma.
She said at the moment the continent had only one female president, Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who’s second term ends in October.
The ANC’s National Working Committee (NWC) had written to structures asking for them to hold off on the succession debate as it hadn’t been opened as yet. The Women’s League had been one of the structures guilty of defying the ANC leadership on the matter. Its president, Bathabile Dlamini, did so yet again.
“The NWC said we shouldn’t discuss this until the succession debate has been opened, but here we are supporting a very humble person,” said Dlamini.
She also compared Dlamini-Zuma to Jesus.
“She is also a lion and a lamb,” said the ANCWL president.
The marathon church service was held under the theme women in power, but for the most part it resembled a rally with the pastor at the church Pastor Velaphi Ndebende throwing his weight behind Dlamini-Zuma to take over the reigns as ANC president.
President Jacob Zuma, who is set to step down after finishing off two terms at the helm in December, has also publicly supported calls for a woman to take over from him.
“I am taking this women in leadership [talk] across the country and by December it will be boiling,” Ndebende told cheering crowds.
The Women’s League has already made a pronouncement that Dlamini-Zuma is its preferred candidate for the ANC presidency, and it’s believed some of the guests at the event shared a similar stance.
Minister Des Van Rooyen, chairperson of the Umkhonto Wesizwe Military Veterans Association Kebby Mapatsoe and MP Humphrey Memezi were among the crowd who sat through several hours of the service in honour of women.
Although Dlamini-Zuma did not say she was ready for the role personally, she shared stories on how women were born to lead and examples of her own approach to leadership.
“Women are practical, they want to see things done. I always say to people that I worked with, I will never punish you if you make a mistake working,” she said.
Corruption can’t tolerated
Dlamini-Zuma said corruption was not only robbing people, but also eroding the trust they had in the government.
‘You can’t use government money or church money to enrich yourself,” she said.
She said it was also corrupt to earn a salary but not do the work one is mandated to do.
The former AU Commission chair who’s hardly said much on the state of South Africa and its politics over the years, said South Africans were looking for a responsive government.
“You can’t be responsive if you don’t want to work,” she said.
Dlamini-Zuma also shared her thoughts on a long-standing debate about the future of the country as far as energy is concerned.
“We mustn’t listen to those who say we must only use renewable energy,” said Dlamini Zuma.
No developed country uses only renewable energy, there must be a mix she said.