JOHANNESBURG — Considering that Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has a very strong chance of winning the ANC’s leadership race in December, it’s rather strange that she’s hardly done any one-on-one television interviews. There’s no doubt that Dlamini-Zuma is far more intelligent and well-spoken than her ex-husband Jacob Zuma. But she also comes across as lacking personality and charm, something that her rival Cyril Ramaphosa has in abundance. However, we all know that content and charm are not going to help either of these candidates win the ANC leadership race. Ultimately, it boils down to who’s bought who and how the crony network can be protected. On that front, Dlamini-Zuma may come across as cold, but she may also be calculating as she’s aligned herself with the Jacob Zuma faction. She knows that she’s got a strong chance of winning, so why try to turn on any charm at all? South Africa may find it hard to rid itself of the Zupta nightmare. – Gareth van Zyl
By Donwald Pressly*
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has been interviewed by eNCA’s Under the Skin by John Perlman. It was a thoroughly underwhelming experience. The Cape Messenger editor Donwald Pressly writes that Dlamini-Zuma’s biggest wish is to continue serving the people of South Africa.
10 August 2017 – Asked if she would make a good president, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. “Well let me just first say…it is never your decision whether you make a good president or not. In the ANC… it is the members of the ANC who should see whether you make a good president or not.”
Perlman interrupted her. “If you didn’t believe it you wouldn’t accept nomination?”
She replied, requesting that he did not interrupt her train of thought. “If you just allow me… if they say so. I think it would be because they would have looked at my track record both in struggle. I started struggling as a student… I was in the ANC … and that track record… then coming back into the country… I was among the people who re-established the ANC in the country… the first branches of the ANC after the unbanning.”
“And they would have looked at my track record in government… I was in health, they would judge what I did in health… I was in foreign affairs, in home affairs. And of course. I have been sent to the AU (African Union) …Judge what I have done in the AU.” There was no mention of the Sarafina II saga of the 1990s when she served as President Nelson Mandela’s Minister of Health. Some say that was the start of wide scale corruption in government. Perlman did not take her on about her record or raise the matter of Sarafina II.
“I am a servant of the people…. Whether I have done my work with integrity.” She believed this would determine whether she was responsive to people’s needs. She could relate to the person “in the village” and “in the boardroom”.
Looking at the track record of her life, she said: “You can’t start something new when you are president.” one should have the experience, the skills and the ability to work with a team but at once, leading the team. “The issues that still need to be attended to… At the moment the most important issue is the economy”.
Perlman pointed out that she had stood on an President Thabo Mbeki slate for the Polokwane ANC national conference – where she lost. Had she changed from supporting a conservative economic approach? Perlman asked if she had changed “or has the ANC changed or has the country changed?” Dlamini-Zuma ignored these questions, all of them.
Instead she said: “If you look at the ANC Freedom Charter… you will see that is the economy… the way it looked at the economy was quite progressive and radical. Of course when the ANC came into power it didn’t defeat the apartheid regime… there had to be negotiated constitution. There had to be a negotiated settlement and therefore, the issue of the economy was not tackled as much as it should have been done.”
Economy in the hands mainly of white people, says Dlamini-Zuma
Asked again why she had aligned herself in 2007 at Polokwane with the more conservative team, she ducked the question again. “My position… in fact… it is not normal and it is not right that the economy is in the hands of the few and is in the hands mainly of white people and the majority of people in South Africa are blacks … and the ANC was established and the strategy and tactics says that we must liberate the blacks in general and Africans in particular. The economy must deal with the situation in South Africa… poverty… that poverty is mainly black and women. Unemployment… but … it must also deal with education. There must be a skills revolution in South Africa. Because without the skills revolution you cannot industrialise… you cannot add value to the raw materials. … we cannot manufacture … we cannot innovate… it is important we have the skills revolution that can drive the economy… we don’t want to be sending raw materials natural and minieral… when you do that you export jobs that would have been used to… create … make finished goods… you also export revenue because you get very little for raw… you get a lot for finished goods. That must be the way forward.”
Asked what her three wishes were by Perlman, he asked what was her wish for the ANC, She said: “My wish for the ANC is that it gets united … goes back to its core values… moves away from its deviant behaviour. Thirdly it wins the election in 2019.” Her wish for the country: “The economy must improve and involve everyone… the majority must get into the mainstream of the economy… the young people must be skilled… the country should come out of recession and the country must come out of femicide which is an embarrassment and a tragedy… we could be killing young women and children at this point… so I wish that we can have campaigns and move away from the killing, abuse and domestic violence against women… and that young people can get employment. That is my wish for the country.”
What is her wish for herself, Perlman asked Dlamini Zuma. She said: “That I can continue to be of service to my people in South Africa.” It was a pretty laborious and dull interview of someone who could, indeed, become the country’s president.
- Donwald Pressly is the editor of Cape Messenger.