What do you make of the allegation that ANC Women’s League president Bathabile Dlamini was drunk when she addressed a crowd in the build-up to the party’s 105th anniversary celebrations?
Perhaps that’s why she led the ANCWL to declare its support for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as president. Certainly the ANCWL’s statement and Dlamini’s rambling interview during Sunday’s event at Orlando Stadium were hogwash.
She enthused about Dlamini-Zuma’s track record. Sober reflection suggests Dlamini-Zuma would be the wrong candidate if the ANC wants to dissociate itself from corruption. In the 1990s, Dlamini-Zuma set the pattern for the current rot.
As Gareth van Onselen has pointed out, she was “at the heart of Sarafina II, arguably the new SA’s defining corruption scandal. It set the template for so much ANC graft to follow, from crooked tenders and the lack of consequences, to the acquiescence of Parliament before an ANC majority.” Please not another Zuma, especially not this one.
She is bad news. What has she accomplished since 2012 as African Union Commission chair? Zilch.
On Monday, an ANC statement criticised the ANCWL for flouting party rules about leadership nominations. But the delay between the ANCWL announcement on Saturday evening and the ANC rebuttal on Monday afternoon was too long. The horse bolted long before the stable door closed.
Significantly, on Sunday, Dlamini-Zuma entered Orlando Stadium alongside her ex-husband. This was a clear signal about who Jacob Zuma prefers as successor.
The allegation that Bathabile Dlamini was drunk on Friday night is unproven. Yet this is not the first time she has been accused of the offence. Perhaps she simply has a tendency, occasionally, to express herself in ways which give rise to suspicions. She can be incoherent. And that may have nothing to do with intoxication.
Yet, rightly or wrongly, booze and the ANC have become linked in the public mind since last week’s announcement that liquor outlets in the vicinity of Sunday’s anniversary celebrations had been granted extended trading hours.
After negative publicity about this proposed temporary relaxation of liquor laws for the ANC, the spotlight fell on Gauteng economic development MEC Lebogang Maile as the instigator. How appropriate it was to learn from the Sunday Times that Joburg’s “Shebeen King” is the MEC’s elder brother, Mike Maile. All in the family.
The association of the ANC with booze-ups was further cemented on Monday when an image circulated on social media purporting to show a liquor bill for R76 191 spent at Sakhumzi Restaurant in Soweto on Sunday. Also on social media, are images of a pamphlet, bearing ANC colours and the Sakhumzi branding, where liquor packages in the region of R20 000 were advertised. No wonder there was a “VIP must fall” protest at the rally.
Ironically, in light of this fuss about liquor, President Zuma is a teetotaller. In that sense, the boozy image cannot be blamed on him. He does, however, stand accused of not providing realistic inspiration during a weekend when millions were looking to the governing party for signs of hope.
And that’s enough to drive some people to drink.