A defiance campaign against an ANC Women’s League executive decision to field Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma will be launched in East London ICC today.
The women’s league made it clear that they were supporting Dlamini-Zuma “and nobody else”, but in the Eastern Cape ANCWL leaders from around the country regions will officially ask Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu to avail herself to lead the 105-year-old liberation movement.
The group includes ANC figures from OR Tambo in Mthatha, Amathole, which covers Butterworth and Dutywa, as well as from KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Western Cape and Northern Cape.
OR Tambo WL regional leader Nombulelo Mjojeli confirmed to the Saturday Dispatch that they have invited Sisulu to the cadres’ forum to be held at the East London International Convention Centre “to declare her availability to stand as ANC president in December.
“We expect her to accept her nomination publicly. Nothing less, so that we can hit the ground running,” said the Ward 19 ANC branch member in Ngquza Hill sub-region.
Asked whether they were defying a pronouncement made by ANCWL president Bathabile Dlamini in January following their extended national executive committee (NEC) meeting, Mjojeli said the resolution “was never about names but a principle to support a woman”.
Dlamini had told the media that the women’s league would lobby for Dlamini-Zuma for the position of ANC president and “nobody else”.
Mjojeli disagreed, saying ANC processes required branches to nominate leaders, and not executive structures.
“We kept quiet when there was hype about Nkosazana (Dlamini-Zuma), not because we agreed on how her nomination was done, but because the ANC had not opened the nomination process. Now that the ANC NEC has declared the process open, we are going to East London to ask Lindiwe to avail herself so that we can go back to our structures and lobby support for her from branches,” said Mjojeli.
She was echoed by a Kimberley branch ANCWL leader Noxolo Mongo, who said they were descending to East London to endorse Sisulu. Mongo said the league’s national officials were on their own with their Dlamini-Zuma’s endorsement because they took the decision unilaterally without consulting lower structures.
“Cadre Sisulu’s credentials and good standing in society speak for itself and we cannot have the ANCWL top six shoving their own candidate down our throats,” said Mongo.
Also in attendance today will be the Friends of Lindiwe Sisulu leadership in KZN, which vowed they would lobby support for Sisulu until the December conference.
The friends’ leader in KZN, Dumisani Nzimokwe, said Sisulu was the only “pure” leader among the ANC presidency candidates.
“At the moment we have people in the running. Some are proxies while some are in it to protect their business interests. We cannot allow that and we believe cadre Sisulu is the only one who will give us a pure and progressive leadership,” said Nzimokwe.
In April the Dispatch broke the story that there were moves to lobby the daughter of Walter Sisulu to become president. This was uncovered when Sisulu visited Keiskammahoek as a guest of an ANC branch.
The Revered ZR Mahabane branch leaders had confirmed that they would lobby for Sisulu to become President Jacob Zuma’s successor at the December conference, a proposal which Sisulu at the time said she would consider when she returned to the province now in July.
Contacted for comment, Sisulu’s spokesman Vusi Tshose said: “All I can confirm is that the Minister will be in East London on Saturday following an invitation to address a cadres’ forum.”
Sisulu has addressed several meetings where she had been asked to avail herself for the position including a meeting with women’s league in the Western Cape in March; a meeting with Limpopo Military veterans in May; ANC branch members in Vryheid in June, as well as the Liliesleaf branch in Midrand last month.
Mjojeli said the league had a pool of names to choose from.
These included Dlamini-Zuma, Speaker of parliament Baleka Mbete and Sisulu.