African National Congress KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Sihle Zikalala says ANC presidential candidate Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has the overwhelming support of the party’s branches ahead of its national congress in December.
Zikalala says it would be a generalisation to assume Dlamini-Zuma is losing support with ANC members in urban areas, especially in Gauteng.
“I believe that assumption is totally wrong,” Zikalala said on Tuesday morning, in an interview with Talk Radio 702.
He said the former African Union chairperson had “strong” support from ANC members at branch level who had embraced her campaign.
“In Gauteng, there are many people who are supporting Nkosazana. I interact with branches of the ANC all over [the country], and I know that Nkosazana has great support in Gauteng … I don’t know whether you would want to listen to one structure [the provincial leadership in Gauteng ] at the expense of branches,” Zikalala said.
With less than two months left until the ANC’s 54th national conference, North West on Monday became the first province to endorse Dlamini-Zuma for the governing party’s top post, while her rival, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, got the backing of Eastern Cape.
Thus far, Dlamini-Zuma has received the support of the ANC youth league, women’s league, and the party’s former military wing, the Umkhonto WeSizwe Military Veterans Association. Her ex-husband, President Jacob Zuma, is also seen as endorsing her candidacy.
Ramaphosa already has the support of Northern Cape and Limpopo, as well as the ANC’s alliance partners: the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), the South African Communist Party (SACP), and the South African Civic Organisation (Sanco).
‘Zuma not involved in NDZ’s campaign’
On suggestions that Dlamini-Zuma’s campaign bid to succeed Zuma was a strategy aimed at protecting the president from facing prosecution on corruption charges, Zikalala said that was “wrong and misleading”.
“The contest and the leadership issues going into the national conference have nothing to do with President Zuma,” he said.
In August, Dlamini-Zuma told AFP she found it “offensive” to be seen as Zuma’s chosen candidate, saying she would not be elected by the president.
SCA spy-tapes appeal ruling
Zikalala also said Friday’s judgment by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) dismissing an appeal by Zuma and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in the spy-tapes saga would need to be discussed internally in the ANC on whether the president should be asked to step down.
The appeals court based in Bloemfontein upheld a ruling of the Pretoria High Court last year, which overturned the 2009 decision by the NPA’s former acting head, Mokotedi Mpshe, to drop graft charges against Zuma.
“I would not want to venture into that space because those are issues that must be canvassed internally within the movement,” he said.
The ANC will hold its national conference in Gauteng where it will elect its new leadership from 16 to 20 December.
Listen to Sihle Zikalala’s full interview below: