Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma ready to lead the ANC - ANCWL

League backs the AU commission chairperson to succeed Jacob Zuma


7th January 2017

The National Executive Committee of the African National Congress Women’s League held it’s extended NEC Meeting from the 6 – 7 January 2017 at St George’s Conference Centre, Irene. The meeting reiterated the mandate of its 12th elective conference to RENEW, RE-ORAGANISE, REAFFIRM AND REMOBILIZE the ANCWL.

The NEC of the ANCWL met at a crucial time when the ANC celebrates its 105th birthday. This meeting precedes the much anticipated ANC policy conference and ANC elective conference later in the year. In line with the ANC’s decision to dedicate this year to unite the organisation, the ANCWL resolved to take the message to all its lower structures. The ANCWL further commends the ANC’s decision to dedicate the year 2017 to celebrate and honour the life and times of the former President of the ANC, Cde Oliver Reginald Tambo who would turn 100 years this year. President OR Tambo dedicated all his life to the liberation of the African masses and importantly, the unity of the ANC.  

The President of the ANCWL, Cde Bathabile Dlamini gave the political report which was accepted by the meeting. 

Key amongst the issues resolved was the Economic Empowerment of Women which centres on the education of young women and girls.

The continued and stubborn challenge of Gender Based Violence was emphasised and ANCWL resolved that it should be at the centre of all programmes which seek to fight against the violation of women.

The NEC meeting resolved to strengthen critical programmes working with other sectors and government. Those programmes, among others, include:

- Back To School campaign;

- Right To Learn campaign (Tertiary Education programme);

- International Women’s Day;

- Molo Makhelwane (Mass Mobilisation)


The ANC WL has openly pursuit the call for the election of the ANC's first female President. We have engaged and continue to engage our branches, Regions and Provinces, branches of the ANC, Academia, Youth and Women in all spheres of life to support our cause.

The ANC WL carries in it a responsibility to be the voice of reason and critical body of opinion within the African National Congress and broader society in so far as it relates to gender equity and parity.

We have come to the appreciation that nobody will break that glass ceiling but ourselves as women of the African National Congress. To this end, in true pursuance of the ANC's policy of equality and non-sexism, we as the African National Congress WL have come out to call for the African National Congress to elect its first ever woman as President in December 2017.

During the extended National Executive Committee meeting, after careful considerations and a detailed organizational assessment on the progress made by South Africa as led by the African National Congress with regards and in relation to the affirmation of women in leadership, the ANCWL has come to the following conclusion:

- The call for the first female President has gained relevance and necessary significance;

- We have successfully raised and achieved the call for equal representation of women both in public and private sectors of our society. In principle the ANCWL resolved to pursue the 50/50 representation not only in the ANC NEC but in the ANC officials.

- That after careful consideration and opening our eyes as wide as possible, Cde Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma is the only suitable candidate at this point in our history to lead the African National Congress in December 2017.

In line with the 50/50 representation in the officials, the ANCWL has resolved to lobby for Cde Baleka Mbete, Cde Jessie Duarte, Cde Nosiviwe Mapisa – Nqakula, Cde Lindiwe Sisuslu, Cde Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and Cde Nomvula Mokonyane to be considered in the other 5 of the 6 official positions of the African National Congress in December 2017. Of importance is the decision that Cde Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma is a Presidential candidate of the ANC WL and nobody else.

Cde Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma needs no introduction to the political discourse of South Africa. She needs no introduction to the members and structures of the African National Congress.

Her legacy and influence is known and well documented throughout the history pages of the republic and beyond. The African National Congress WL has satisfied itself that Cde Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma not only meets, but is an embodiment of leadership as espoused by "Through the eye of a needle". She grew organically within the structures of the movement, the ANC.

We are also aware that only one individual can carry the magnitude of a task at a time and as the ANC WL we have searched through the structures of the ANC and have found Cde Nkosazana Dlamini - Zuma to be ready to lead the collective leadership of both the African National Congress in 2017, and the Republic in 2019 as the President.

Cde Nkosazana Dlamini - Zuma has a well established and documented history in the ANC and the struggle for liberation of our people. She has grown in the ranks of the African National Congress and her courage of convictions is evident from a young age given the material conditions on the ground which forced her to embark on activism to fight the apartheid struggle of our people.

Born on 27th of January in 1949 in Bulwer in the Province of Kwazulu-Natal, after completing high school at Amanzimtoti Training College in 1967, she embarked on studies in Zoology and Botany at the University of Zululand in 1971 and obtained a Bachelor degree.

She commenced her medical studies at the University of Natal, where her involvement with the anti-apartheid struggle began. She was forced into exile by the apartheid security apparatus in 1976 because of her activism. Her love for the freedom of her people did not overshadow her love for learning and knowledge; this is evident through her continued activism both in the social and academic sphere.

While Cde Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma continued her medical studies at the University of Bristol, she simultaneously served as the Chairperson of the African National Congress’ (ANC) Youth Section in Great Britain between 1977 and 1978. She also played an instrumental role in the underground structures of the African National Congress in exile.

During this time, her steadfast commitment to the liberation of South Africa saw her elected to the position of Vice Chairperson of the African National Congress Regional Political Committee in Great Britain between 1978 and 1988, and later became its Chairperson from 1988 – 1989. Between 1980 and 1985, Cde Dlamini Zuma served as Paediatric Medical Officer at the Mbabane Government Hospital in Swaziland. She was deployed to the African National Congress's Health Department in Lusaka, Zambia between 1989 and 1990.

When the African National Congress was unbanned in 1990, Cde Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma returned from exile, playing an immense role in the building of all the African National Congress structures and African National Congress WL. Cde Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma was elected to serve in the African National Congress National Executive Committee from 1991 and by all successive ANC National elective conferences since then.

It will go down in history that it is through her wisdom and unifying character, which she chaired a commission that decisively dealt with manipulation, fraud and all the challenges facing African National Congress branches post the Local Government Election of 2011. That Commission made decisive recommendations.

After the historic political breakthrough in 1994, Cde Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma served as Minister of Health of South African first post-apartheid democratic government from 1994 to 1999. It is under her sterling leadership that the Department of Health laid basis for and an extension of primary health care facilities for the ordinary masses of our people, in particular the rural communities. It is under her leadership in this department that she pioneered an anti-smoking legislation in public areas at a time when even the developed world was lagging behind.

Given her sterling contribution and competency, the African National Congress further deployed her to serve as a Foreign Affairs Minister from 1999-2009.

It is in this department where the Region and the Continent looked up into South Africa in its quest to unite the Continent. It is through her leadership that South Africa had an unquestionable clout internationally especially strengthening the relationship with all the progressive forces across the globe.

Given her commitment to serve nothing but the people, the ANC deployed her to become Minister of Home Affairs from 2009, until her election to the African Union Commission Chairperson in 2012. 

Importantly, she is the first woman in 50 years to lead the continental organization, including its predecessor, the Organization of African Unity (OAU). It is for this reason that our conviction in Woman to lead finds expression.

Cde Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma is the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, elected to this position by the African Heads of State in 2012. Her work in the African Union Commission focuses on the continental drive to ensure an Africa and her dreams are prosperous, integrated within the global village and peaceful. Cde Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma is the founding chairperson of the Council of the African Union foundation which is aimed at mobilising resources for the African Union and promoting the programmes of the Union.

It is through her sterling work as the African Union Chairperson that, the collective of the ANCWL firmly believes that Cde Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma will and is able to lead South Africa in being a leader not only in the African continent but in global politics as well.

It is her unparalleled experience in the continental and global politics that have strengthened the resolve of the African National Congress Women's League that South Africa with its strategic role in global politics will be better served by a comrade of Cde Nkosazana Dlamini - Zuma's stature.

Critically to the creation of a National Democratic Society as encapsulated by the National Democratic Revolution, which is outlined in the Strategies & Tactics document, we firmly believe that it is on a collective leadership to be led by Cde Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma that South Africa shall be a country that truly belongs to all who live in it, where access to economic opportunities and ownership patterns of the means of production will be equal.

For we believe, that given her role in the AU, South African will continue providing leadership within the SADEC region and the African Continent as a whole. For we are certain, that Cde Nkosazana Dlamini - Zuma will ensure that we occupy strategic position within the global village working with all progressive forces as a nation among nations.

We come to this conclusion based on her credentials and footprint in the African National Congress spanning from 1971 to date. Her meticulous nature and search for Excellency can be seen in all the projects she leads and her latest being her election into the Chairperson of the African Union.

The ANC WL National Executive Committee is well aware that journey to non sexism is not a one-man show. We fully understand that patriarchy is not ready to give up all its privilege without a fight.

Our resolve support of Cde Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma is a final push in the 69yr battle for the Emancipation of Women. The NEC and the membership it leads are confident in the strength, resilience and compassion the leadership of Cde Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma will bring, not only to the ANC but to South Africa and the broader African continent.

The work of the founding mothers of the African National Congress WL, Charlotte Maxeke, Lillian Ngoyi and many others have brought us to this conjuncture. The ANCWL wishes to stress that women have always been ready.

Having made this examination about Cde Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, we are of the firm view that her capacity, experience and credentials are second to none. She is an undisputed seasoned leader that the African National Congress deserves in the conjuncture in the courage and mission to accelerate confronting the challenges of unemployment, underdevelopment, inequalities and economic transformation, among others, which have besieged our people.

In the near future, the ANCWL shall continue to approach ANC structures and various sectors of our society such as business, labour, civil society, faith based organizations, youth, etc. to demonstrate that we are not only talking about a woman to lead for the sake of it. But we are talking of a capacitated, experienced, credible leader of the ANC, with no questionable credentials, whose strides and experience is glaring through the various departments she has led.

WaThinta' Abafazi! Wathint'iMbokdo! Uzakufa !!!

Statement issued by Meokgo Matuba, ANCWL Secretary General, 7 January 2016