AS the campaign trail for the ANC’s presidency enters a tense final stretch, presidential candidate Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has refused to change her tune on radical economic transformation, even if it costs her an endorsement from economic interest groups.
Against the background of 4300 ANC branches finalising nominations for their preferred president under way, the party’s attempts at finding a successor to President Jacob Zuma has been characterised by a tussle that has seen the ANC and its alliance partners all splinter upon the reefs of strife and division.
Adding to the acrimony is the banking and finance sector, which has sought to create an apparatus of pressure on the ANC not to elect Dlamini Zuma, arguing that a win for her in December would trigger political and economic chaos.
In an exclusive interview with The New Age, with just over a month before the ANC’s elective conference kicks off, Dlamini Zuma said that while she was “not surprised” by the push back against her presidential ambitions, she would not retreat on the “ANC’s policy” on radical economic transformation in a bid to win over their approval.
“They’ve never done so before. They never endorsed me when I was a minister of health, they never endorsed me when I was a minister of foreign affairs. They never endorsed me when I was the minister of home affairs. What’s new?” Dlamini Zuma said.
“I struggled for freedom, they never did. When I was foreign minister, I dealt with investors.
“When I was the minister of health, people in this country got access to cheaper drugs. I had discussions with the pharmaceutical industry. I’m not afraid of them.
“It was they who decided I will not cooperate and they decided to go to court but eventually they gave up and settled out of court,” Dlamini Zuma said.
Dlamini Zuma took on South African billionaire Johann Rupert for reframing the debate around radical economic transformation – as a means to change from the ground up, structural economic imbalances – to a code word for theft.
“I think that should be condemned with the contempt it deserves. Radical economic transformation is about expanding our economy in a way that more people participate in it but it is also to transform the structure of our economy, the management, the system, the ownership.”
Dlamini Zuma referred to attempts by her detractors to limit her agency and status as a woman to the role of being a former wife.
She said attempts to discredit her were unwarranted.
“Human beings are unique. I am one human being. What name I carry does not change me. My record is there for everyone to see. In terms of the work I’ve done, I’ve done it as this a unique individual.
“People trying to link me to another are dishonest and disingenuous because they know the truth.”