Team-Dlamini Zuma powers on

Ekurhuleni – Former African Union Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma continued with her campaign this weekend to become the first female president of the ANC.

She attended the grand opening of the Bretheren Mission Church in Thokoza on Saturday, where she delivered a key note address. 'NDZ' as her campaign has been dubbed was officially launched in a church at the beginning of February shortly after Dlamini Zuma stepped down from her role at the AU.

She was joined by leadership in the ANC Women’s League at the event, along with several church and traditional leaders. Swaziland’s Princess Sebentile Dlamini, who was once said to be engaged to Dlamini-Zuma’s former husband President Jacob Zuma was also at the event.

“Women and youth must spearhead development on the continent,” Dlamini-Zuma told the congregation gathered at the grand opening.

Although this time there was no official theme outlined, the main focus of her talk remained women in leadership.

Dlamini-Zuma who’s yet to make utterances on party politic dynamics spoke about the long relationship the ANC has enjoyed with the religious community, stopping to give a short history lesson of the 105-year old liberation movement’s history.

“In the struggle in South Africa and Africa religious people were always there, from 1912 at the Wesleyan church in Mangaung,” she told congregants.

She said this was a sign that religious leaders were important in people’s lives, in their struggles and society as whole.

Swaziland’s Nkosi Ngingi who delivered a word of encouragement called on women to support Dlamini-Zuma.

“This is your next president, if you mess up you will never get a chance to get a woman president in South Africa again,” Ngingi told women in the room.

The chief told the room that the former AU Commission chair’s name showed she was destined to lead.

“Her name is Nkosazana, in there is a Nkosi [chief], her last name is Dlamini who are royals and she married Zuma,” said the chief who described the president as a man among men.

The ANCWL has been continuing with its NDZ campaign despite the ANC’s National Working Committee calling on structures to steer clear of the succession debate as it had not been opened as yet.

ANCWL president Bathabile Dlamini who introduced Dlamini-Zuma said the league would not venture away from campaigning for the former AU commission chair on the basis of her gender, explaining to the crowd that some people had taken exception to this.

“We will constantly remind people that she is a woman and she is a leader,” said Dlamini.

She also hit out at those who said that Dlamini-Zuma failed in her role at the AU.

“She changed the AU,” said the ANCWL president.

"Dlamini-Zuma will change the lives of South Africans,” said Dlamini.

The president’s former spouse highlighted the importance of education and skills development in Africa. She also urged Africans to protect the land, to ensure maximum benefit for the continent’s people.

Although her speech spoke to challenges faced by the continent at large, she addressed some issues which had been making news in South Africa recently. This included the banks saga and xenophobic violence which has swept over parts of Gauteng in the past week.

“We shouldn’t discriminate but you also can’t arrive at a place illegally,” she said.