Over the past weekend approximately 4,700 ANC delegates cast their votes for either Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma or Cyril Ramaphosa as Zuma’s successor. Now, South Africans around the world wait in anticipation at the announcement of the ANC’s new leadership.
Perhaps the word ‘new’ is not fitting for this election. A vote for Ramaphosa upholds and maintains an existing capitalist system in which the poor become poorer, and the lives of mineworkers are cast aside to fill the pockets of UK-based mining companies. A vote for Dlamini Zuma is often associated with the existing Zuma regime of inefficiency and corruption.
In the build up to the ANC elective conference, South Africans have been taken on a whirlwind of statements, events and scandals changing our perception on who to support. In an attempt to win the votes of despondent women and activists, Ramaphosa recently announced during a radio interview with Radio 702 that he believed Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo, better known as "Khewzi” was raped. Khewzi is the woman who accused President Zuma of rape in 2005. His sudden support for Khwezi is convenient at best. He did not support Khwezi when she was alive and being debased by the ANC and the ANC Women’s League. To many, his sudden comments are a despicable tool in a game to win political power. His inability to hold Zuma accountable while he was Deputy President, are indicative of his inability to speak up in the name of justice to serve all South Africans.
In addition to Ramaphosa’s convenient move, an even greater move was made by President Zuma this weekend when he announced free higher education for poor and working class students. For many, including myself, this is a monumental announcement which recognizes the goals set out in the 2015 #FeesMustFall protests. However, there is also something very convenient about this announcement which one must be cognisant of. The timing is peculiar, and aids Dlamini Zuma’s campaign for Presidency among young people.
Bearing this highly political game in mind, a decision was still made at the ANC elective conference this weekend. I can only hope that the ANC delegates voted in terms of what is best for South Africa, not only economically but socially too. Economic development spurred by capitalist and neo-liberal agendas will only increase the gap between rich and poor. We need leadership that promotes inclusive economic development comprising of growth; job opportunities; racial, and gender equality; and the eradication of poverty. I believe that Dlamini Zuma has a greater chance of achieving these goals.
Notwithstanding, Dlamini Zuma’s ties to Jacob Zuma, she is a promising leader. Her prior experience as the Chairperson of the African Union had more successes than failures. She spearhead the AU Agenda 2063 which is a long-term vision for Africa’s growth and development and she has promoted skills-based education throughout the continent to empower African youth. Furthermore, as the first woman heading up the AU, she has shown many African women that it is indeed possible to reach such heights on a continent plagued with patriarchy. Continuing the gender argument, South Africa needs a female President. Our high rape statistics and demeaning patriarchal norms could be better handled by a women in leadership.
Perhaps, I am too optimistic. Perhaps, Dlamini Zuma’s affiliation with Zuma may mean that social injustices continue to run rampant in South Africa. However, as a young person passionate about Africa’s growth it’s important to see some positivity in the future. Let us hope the ANC delegates agree with me.
Farai Mubaiwa is the Founder of Africa Matters (AMI). AMI empowers young Africans to reject the notion that Africa is poor and corrupt, and to change the narrative by becoming activity citizens, embracing African identity and leading Africa. Since its formation in 2015, AMI has reached out to over 9000 including those in the diaspora. She has also been a leader with the #EndRapeCulture and #FeesMustFall movements.