As ANC gears up for another presidential election, the field is so crowded that many South Africans have been dealing with controversies surrounding the much-anticipated race.
So far, names of the presidential aspirants have exceeded six – an outcome that has even made the election somewhat more interesting. But it’s not going to be all rosy as so many of the so-called aspirants won’t be having an easy ride. While we thought the likes of National Speaker Baleka Mbete is already making her way to the top of the list, reliable sources in the ANC caucus have downplayed the claims.
The sources explained that in as much as the president and some cadres have been fighting for a female president as Zuma’s successor, there are only three female political heavyweights endorsed to battle for the top ANC post against their male rivals.
Top on the list is President Zuma’s ex-wife and former chairperson of the African Union Commission Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Below Dlamini-Zuma is Lindiwe Sisulu and then Grace Naledi Mandisa Pandor. As much as we know, Dlamini-Zuma is a household name in South African politics, Sisulu has been politically active but she is yet to gain ground on the political soil like Dlamini-Zuma. Pandor, if I must say is the lesser-known aspirant among the trio.
Here Are Important Details About The Women, Including Their Political History
Trained as a doctor at the University of Bristol, Nkozana isn’t green-horned in the political sphere. She was once South Africa’s health minister during the Mandela-led regime that rolled out in 1994. After taking office in 1999, former President Thabo Mbeki crowned her South Africa’s foreign minister and she manned the post for a decade.
Then in 1999, she was reassigned to the home affairs. In 2005, she was offered the Deputy Presidency of South Africa by Thabo Mbeki after he fired Jacob Zuma but she refused the position.
Mbeki still refutes claims that he fired Zuma. On 22 September 2008, Dlamini-Zuma resigned along with 10 other ministers of the South African cabinet, the deputy president, and the president. In 2009, she was suggested as a possible ANC candidate for the Presidency in the 2009 election and for the leadership of the party but the bid failed.
On 15 July 2012, Dlamini-Zuma was elected by the African Union Commission as its chairperson, making her the first woman to lead the organization.
In 1995, Dlamini-Zuma was awarded an honorary Doctor of Law degree by the University of Natal. She also received the award from the University of Bristol in 1996.
Dlamini-Zuma was born in Natal, in KwaZulu-Natal province. She met President Jacob Zuma while working as a doctor at the Mbabane Government Hospital in Swaziland. Their marriage crashed in 1998. The pair has four children.
Lindiwe Nonceba Sisulu was first given an appointment in the government as deputy minister of home affairs in 1996. She served through 2001. She is currently serving as Minister of Human Settlements. The position was offered to her in May 2014. She served as Minister of Public Service and Administration from 2012–2014.
Lindiwe has been a member of the National Executive Committee of the ANC for over a decade. She is also a member of Parliament since 1994. She once served as South Africa’s Minister of Housing from 2004 to 2009 and Minister of Defence and Military Veterans from 2009 to 2012. From 2012-2014, Lindiwe also served as South Africa’s Minister of Public Service and Administration.
Sisulu is a product of Waterford Kamhlaba United World College of Southern Africa in Mbabane, Swaziland in 1973. She has a BA degree and Diploma in Education. In 1981, Sisulu received a BA Hons in History from the University of Swaziland. In 1989, she also received an MPhil from the Centre for Southern African Studies at the University of York. She has an MA in History.
Sisulu lost her Kenyan-born academic husband Rok Ajulu to cancer complications in December 2016. They had five children together.
Grace Naledi Mandisa
Pandor Pandor has been serving as South Minister of Science and Technology since 2014. She had previously held the post from 2009-2012.
She also served as the Minister of Home Affairs from 2012-2014. During Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe’s tenures, she was the Minister of Education, serving from 2004–2009. In 1994, she was elected to parliament and in 1999, she was appointed Chairperson of The National Council of Provinces by President Thabo Mbeki. Pandor was born in Durban, Natal.
She is married to Sharif Joseph Pandor and the union produced five children. Her Islamic name is Nadia – a name given to by her in-laws after she converted to Islam, shortly after she met her husband in Botswana.
Like President Zuma said earlier – the country is ready for a female president. But some political bigwigs including Xhosa King, who recently gave Dlamini-Zuma a thumbs down have since trivialized Zuma’s statement.
Dlamini-Zuma is at the frontline of the race, owing to the fact that she enjoys support from Zuma’s cadres. That notwithstanding, her endorsement has been met with resistance by some ANC members, who feel they do not need another “Zuma” in the party’s leadership.