Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma will not be anybody’s puppet if she wins the battle for ANC president – and that also goes for her ex-husband, Jacob Zuma.
Dlamini-Zuma has vowed to be her own woman and to turn the presidency on its head by making the Union Buildings the centre of service delivery and policy implementation.
This is the central message of her campaign, which has been steadily gathering momentum. But if she is elected ANC president in December and subsequently head of state in 2019, her immediate mission will be to heal divisions in the party.
If she wins, she will reach out to her opponents and, even if she loses, has committed herself to working with the victors for the sake of ANC unity.
She revealed this in a wide-ranging interview conveyed through her campaign manager, Carl Niehaus, with Saturday Citizen this week.
She will prioritise the anti-corruption fight and jail all culprits. But her campaign would not be based on Jacob Zuma as a reference point.
Dlamini-Zuma, who was sworn in as an ANC MP this week, would ensure that her presidency would be policy driven, while ‘implementation’ would be the buzz word.
She believed the ANC had good policies but they lacked implementation, which had been the party’s Achilles heel since it came to power in 1994.
“We will reverse this. We want to work in a way to ensure that our people are happy with the service delivery we bring them. That would fulfil the ANC mission to bring a better life for all,” she said.
Dlamini-Zuma’s road to Luthuli House and the Union Buildings will definitely not be an easy one. And she knows it. In government, she would push for better healthcare, education and improve care services that would improve people’s lives. She is passionate about women’s participation in the economy.
Niehaus says Dlamini-Zuma wants women to be empowered economically.
“For the economy to grow, we have to promote small and medium enterprises by making funding easily accessible to the emerging entrepreneurs. SMEs must be able to work better and create jobs,” Dlamini-Zuma said.
Although she has been criticised for being too like Zuma in terms of her policies, Niehaus defended her approach.
“The radical economic transformation policy does not belong to President Zuma but is a policy which stayed in the ANC strategy and tactics document from 2012.”
He also came to her defence against criticism that her campaign depended on Zuma’s support.
“There is no such thing that Dr Dlamini-Zuma is standing in the shadow of President Zuma.
“NDZ has her own career. It is sexist to refer to her as the former wife of JZ. It is unfair since she has her own career in politics, she is a leader in her own right. She is not in the ANC or in government because of Zuma. To refer to her as an extension of President Zuma is unacceptable,” said Niehaus. – email@example.com