Speculation is doing the rounds that the election of Dlamini, who is also the Social Development Minister, as president was confirmation Zulu-speaking cadres dominate the ANC. Critics say the Tripartite Alliance is led by cadres from KwaZulu-Natal.
Former ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa said last week “weak” leaders used tribalism as a refuge to take positions. “When the ANC was founded in 1912, one of its principles was to fight and defeat tribalism. But it seems as if this scourge is going to be with us for a very long time.” Phosa, a former premier of Mpumalanga, vowed the ANC would not tolerate tribalism, adding the party had many forums to deal with the issue.
Political analyst Dr Somadoda Fikeni said tribalism was not solely an ANC issue. “It is a societal challenge that manifests itself in different institutions. It exists in Afrikaner and English communities,” Fikeni said. President Jacob Zuma’s term as president of South Africa ends in 2019 and there is talk about those jostling to succeed him.
It is thought Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, a Venda, faces obstacles because some ANC members want a Zulu to succeed Zuma. Fikeni warned ANC female members from KwaZulu-Natal against declaring their support for African Union (AU) Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to lead the ANC.
He said it would be interpreted as tribalism. He said a Venda person would want Ramaphosa to become president. Yesterday, ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza said the party was concerned about the issue. “Tribalism manifest itself in communities out there,” he said. “We call on society to assist to deal with tribal tendencies and backward thinking.”