By Suthandiwe Velaphi | IOL |
Former AU Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s ANC presidential bid was on Tuesday thwarted by Xhosa King Mpendulo Zwelonke Sigcawu, who said the country was not ready for a woman president.
Dlamini-Zuma was at Sigcawu’s Nqadu Great Place in Willowvale near Mthatha in the Eastern Cape in what was initially announced as a courtesy visit by the former foreign affairs minister to the Xhosa king.
Sigcawu did not mince his words at the event, attacking President Jacob Zuma’s leadership.
Dlamini Zuma is being backed by those in support of Zuma against Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is also campaigning for the ANC’s top job.
The event at a marquee on Sigcawu’s palace was turned into a question-and-answer session between Dlamini-Zuma and residents.
A handful of ANC supporters, accompanied by ANC Women’s League members, listened to Dlamini-Zuma’s plans on how the government had to prioritise economic opportunities for rural residents.
Sigcawu said traditional leaders were at an advanced stage in forming their own political party through the Congress of the Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa). The move was ignited by the government’s “failure” to listen to the concerns of traditional leaders, he said.
“We have huge support from our people. People listen to us and they will support our initiative to form our own political party.”
Sigcawu said the country was in a “mess” and therefore not in need of a woman president. “The country is not ready for a woman president because even our democratic presidents (previous and current), all men, have not accomplished turning it around,” said Sigcawu.
Speaking to Independent Media on the sidelines of the event, Sigcawu said: “I am not sure of her (Dlamini-Zuma’s) capabilities for presidency. Sending her to a presidency will be just a disaster because our country is in a mess.”
But his comments could not stop Deputy Water and Sanitation Minister Pam Tshwete from campaigning for Dlamini Zuma at the event.
She said the time for a woman president was long overdue. “We are here to support our candidate and asijiki (not turning back),” said Tshwete to the applause of a few ANC Women’s League members in attendance.
Residents listed concerns ranging from lack of economic capital to start their businesses and criminals targeting women and children.
Dlamini-Zuma replied: “We need to do more. I’ll take these concerns to the ANC’s national executive committee.”