By Pinky Khoabane
The media campaign describing Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma as nothing else but her husband’s ex-wife dates back years and its intentions are bearing fruit among the chattering classes. The narrative – not another Zuma in the presidency – has taken hold and little justification has been made to back the claims.
Once she was touted as a possible presidential candidate, she ceased to have credentials of her own with the media intent on linking her to her “embattled ex-husband” and to project her as someone who will protect him from his legal woes if she were to be president.
Dlamini-Zuma’s political career remains largely untainted by scandal and her achievements are by virtue of her own hard work and not her link to the President. Her political activism, career and achievements are contained in a link below.
On her return from exile in 1990 when the ANC and other liberation movements were unbanned, she played a crucial role in building the ANC and its structures including the Women’s League. She was appointed minister of health in 1994, a position she held for five years. She brought unprecedented progressive legislation which saw the poor gain access to healthcare they had previously not had.
But it is her fight against the powerful tobacco and pharmaceutical industries that stands as a reminder that she is not a friend of capitalists and is above manipulation.
Under her leadership, South Africa waged a fierce war against the tobacco industry and won. She initially pioneered legislation banning sports sponsorship which made way for the legislation banning smoking in public areas. She further locked horns with the pharmaceutical industry in demand for accessible and affordable medicines including HIV/AIDS treatment for the poor.
The pharmaceutical companies eventually backed down and withdrew their case against the South African government.
In a series of news articles, Dlamini-Zuma has been referred to as simply “President Jacob Zuma’s ex-wife”. The structure of the articles about her have become very predictable. The first paragraph of the article will refer to the issue at hand but then the story swiftly turns to the scandals surrounding “her ex-husband”. Once all the woes have been listed, attention is given to her career albeit very minimal, their marriage and break-up but more importantly the stories must alert the reader to their cordial relationship despite the divorce. “They remain friends,” the line always goes before going into his intentions to ensure her ascendancy to the presidency.
Their relationship and history has been used to concoct an entire story about how Zuma will use his influence to ensure she gets the presidential job. It is alleged he will use what has now been dubbed the “Premier League”, comprising of Premiers Age Magashule (Free State), David Mabuza (Mpumalanga) and Supra Mahumapelo (North West). To date, evidence to this effect has not been forthcoming.
While women with family links to political leaders are fiercely scrutinised when they make a move for high-ranking political positions, there are more men than women who have ascended to political positions through links. http://voxeu.org/article/dynasties-democracies-political-side-inequality.
ANC Women’s League endorsement of Dlamini Zuma
The ANCWL at the weekend endorsed Dlamini Zuma for president of the ANC in what it described as its pursuit for the election of a first woman president.
In a statement released at the weekend, it said it was satisfied that Cde Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma not only meets, but is an embodiment of leadership as espoused by “Through the eye of a needle” in reference to the ANC’s seminal document on choosing the best candidates to lead transformation. https://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/anc/2001/eye-needle.htm
Here’s the full statement on why ANCWL endorsed Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma for President of the ANC http://www.politicsweb.co.za/politics/nkosazana-dlaminizuma-ready-to-lead-the-anc–ancwl