Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has hit out at critics who have associated her ascendency in politics to President Jacob Zuma, to whom she was married and divorced in 1998. She’s one of several candidates contesting the ANC presidential race whose outcome will be decided at the ANC National Conference in December 2017.
“I divorced him in 1998, when I was health minister, and long before he became president. He wasn’t even deputy president. He was an MEC in KwaZulu-Natal. I was already in government and had a career for myself.”
“But people are quick to forget. I was never first lady of South Africa. And I have no aspirations to marry a president. I have kids with him, so it is inevitable that I will see him from time to time. When you are divorced, you don’t have to be enemies. But I am not his wife,” says Dlamini Zuma. “Even when we were in exile I hardly saw him; we lived together only in Lusaka.”
“It’s mischievous people who use their patriarchy to smear my name. It’s worse when it comes from women and fellow comrades, who know I have my own track record in the ANC and in government. I am a doctor and one of the longest-serving cabinet ministers under former presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki. Before Zuma became president.
“Why would people now think I can only succeed with him pushing me? Why are they raising this issue only now, if not to discredit me and unfairly judge me? Their agenda is clear: women can’t lead. There has to be a man behind them.”
“There will always be sexist people in society. They even go to the extent of printing fake news. They say the ANC will lose the 2019 elections if a woman leads the party at the polls. Only a man can unite the party and help us win, they say.”
And it gets worse: “The Sunday Times printed a fake story that I live at Nkandla, that I even have a house there. It’s pure fabrication to push a particular narrative – that I am being propelled to the top by Zuma”.
In May The Press Ombudsman directed the Sunday Times to apologise to Dlamini-Zuma for stating as fact in its headline the allegation that she has recently spent a lot of time at Nkandla. http://uncensoredopinion.co.za/sunday-times-must-apologise-nkosazana-dlamini-zuma-ombud-rules/