ANC in disarray: Dlamini-Zuma silent on Cabinet’s future amidst tensions

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma remains tight-lipped on her future in Ramaphosa's Cabinet, sparking both support and criticism within the ANC.


Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has gone mute about her future in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Cabinet. Speaking to The Citizen at the renaming of William Nicol Drive to Winnie Mandela Drive, Dlamini-Zuma brushed off questions when asked if she was worried that the ANC would remove her in parliament and from her ministerial position. She instead praised the ANC for renaming William Nicol Drive. “I feel that the ANC has done very well by celebrating and immortalising Mama Winnie,” she said. It was left to Bathabile Dlamini, disgraced former minister of social development, to stand up…

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Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has gone mute about her future in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Cabinet.

Speaking to The Citizen at the renaming of William Nicol Drive to Winnie Mandela Drive, Dlamini-Zuma brushed off questions when asked if she was worried that the ANC would remove her in parliament and from her ministerial position.

She instead praised the ANC for renaming William Nicol Drive. “I feel that the ANC has done very well by celebrating and immortalising Mama Winnie,” she said.

It was left to Bathabile Dlamini, disgraced former minister of social development, to stand up for Dlamini-Zuma, who has seemingly refused to toe the party line.

Dlamini-Zuma firstly voted in favour of the impeachment of President Cyril Ramaphosa, which she was facing a hearing for.

She then was a no-show in parliament to vote for former public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s impeachment, citing ill health.

She was absent despite ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula’s stern warning that only death could excuse MPs from attending the voting.

Dlamini, also former ANC Women’s League president, appeared to be in favour of Dlamini-Zuma’s absenteeism, saying she could have easily voted against the party line if she wanted to – as she did during the vote on the Phala Phala matter.

“The national executive committee has not discussed this matter and she has given her reasons for not attending on that day,” Dlamini said.

“I believe her because when she did not want to vote [on the Phala Phala matter] she fearlessly went to the Assembly. And if she did not want to vote that day, she was going to go to parliament. That day I was told she was ill and could not attend.”

When another senior ANC member, trearurer-general Gwen Ramokgopa, was probed on Dlamini-Zuma’s conduct, she was hesitant, saying the renaming of William Nicol Drive was “not the time, nor place”.

She, however, sang Dlamini-Zuma’s praises.

“Dlamini-Zuma is a woman I respect and honour. I do not think when we are celebrating a woman like her, Madikizela-Mandela, it is the time to discuss these issues. It is a time to celebrate women who had the fortitude to fight for our liberation,” Ramokgopa said.

But ANC Youth League president Collen Malatji strongly condemned Dlamini-Zuma’s behaviour, calling it ill-discipline.

Anyone, including Dlamini-Zuma who did not want to follow what the ANC said should form their own political party to make their own rules, he said.

“As long as you are in the ANC, you follow what the party says. If you do not agree with the leadership, you resign and protect your good legacy.”

“Dlamini-Zuma has a good legacy. If she is not happy, she can resign and say she doesn’t agree with what the ANC says.

“Being ill-disciplined at that age is wrong because what are you teaching the next generation about behaviour? No organisation will survive because of ill-discipline,” Malatji said.

Mbalula and the ANC national disciplinary committee were set to deal with Dlamini-Zuma’s defiant behaviour.

Political analyst Professor Sipho Seepe said the ANC was determined to discipline Dlamini-Zuma. But the issues they wanted to charge Dlamini-Zuma with were not sustainable.

“What you have with Phala Phala is a cover-up and the party cannot pretend all is well with Phala Phala,” he said.

“When this goes to court and the ANC is found wanting, she will come out as somebody who has acted with integrity. What you have in the ANC are members who are more concerned with money than principle.”

The ANC also could not doubt someone could not make it because of ill-health.

“What you have is a party that has gone mad because why would you want to destroy the best performing cadres?

“People like her are scandal-free. She has been one of the best performing ministers.”

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