Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma addressed an O.R Tambo lecture in the Free State in QwaQwa this past week. The premise of her address fixated on economic transformation and the current situation of the African National Congress leading the December conference. In the mist of instability within the ANC, various political commentators have suggested that Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s appointment to parliament was meant to leave the door open for President Jacob Zuma to make an early exit from government once she has been elected at the ANC’s elective conference in December. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was also expected to be a member of the cabinet following the recent cabinet reshuffle however that has not occurred. She is currently one of the prime candidates in the governing party’s presidential race, alongside Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
In her address Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma reminded her audience of the circumstances surrounding the formation of the ANC. She submitted that the ANC was founded on the basis of fighting white rule and the return of land which was taken away from African people. She added that when land was taken away it marked the beginning of poverty of the Black people. Dlamini-Zuma pointed out the importance of the province in the history of the ANC.
She then encouraged the branches of the ANC to walk into the December conference calm, united and dignified. Dlamini-Zuma emphasised that members of the party should make a commitment to peace and stop insulting each other. She encouraged members of the party to put forward their grievances internally. Dlamini-Zuma also spoke about the process which should be taken when electing leadership for the next five years as she advised members of the party to elect leaders who will be able to carry the movement forward for the next five years. These leaders should enjoy the confidence of the branches and understand the policies of the ANC with commitment in order to address socio-economic challenges in the country.
It is questionable now if the ANC will even make it to the December conference as a collective following the firing of the general secretary of the SACP Blade Nzimande. Earlier this year during the SACP’s conference, the movement resolved to contest elections individually from the ANC even though it did not confirm which elections it would be part of. The question to ask now is, if the careless move of the President encouraged the SACP to fast track its plans to participate in the elections, how much will that move damage the ANC and who will have COSATU’s support?
Previously the general secretary of the SACP Blade Nzimande has said that the date on which the party aims to contest the elections is not set because the movement needed to consult their alliance partners. The general secretary claimed that there was no contradiction in the SACP resolving to contest the elections but in them still wanting to maintain the alliance. Could the recent changes influence the next position of the SACP? On the other hand one would argue that there’s little evidence of what the SACP can achieve without the ANC and thus one would be excused from critically doubting the competence of the SACP in all forms while also considering the stature the party holds as the representation of the working class.