A day after surviving the motion of no confidence, President Jacob Zuma was praised by his ally Bathabile Dlamini on Wednesday. The president, who addressed the official Women’s Day event in Kimberley, did not speak on the no confidence motion, nor did he mention Mduduzi Manana, who remains at large. By GREG NICOLSON.
ANC Women’s League president Bathabile Dlamini on Wednesday praised President Jacob Zuma and attacked those who tried to remove him through a motion of no confidence in Parliament on Tuesday.
“The enemy started with its tricks long ago and they cannot hold themselves. They are not patient. They will prefer a coup rather than the elections because they know they will never defeat us in the elections,” said Dlamini, who serves as social development minister in Zuma’s Cabinet. She was speaking alongside Zuma at the official Women’s Day event at Galeshewe Stadium, Kimberley.
“Mr President, today we feel very relevant and we feel that this is a befitting event and after you have been tortured and persecuted,” said Dlamini, one of Zuma’s most ardent allies. “Mr President, you’ve been persecuted not because you are President Jacob Zuma but because you are the president of the ANC.”
ANC speakers who argued against the no confidence motion on Tuesday claimed opposition parties were trying to unseat the party from power rather than trying to replace the president. None of them defended Zuma directly and some in the ANC have been at pains to appear concerned over allegations of mass corruption linked to the Gupta family that directly implicates Zuma family members and some of his closest allies.
On Wednesday, Dlamini did not mention the serious allegations against the president. Addressing Zuma directly, she said, “We are very proud because we have a people’s president, a humble president. You never want to pay revenge.”
She ignored the many ANC leaders purged under his term.
“You were not built by newspapers, you were not built by the media, you were not built by the elite, you were not built by the bourgeoisie, you come from the toiling rural masses of Nkandla.”
The president is under increasing pressure from those within his party. Speaker Baleka Mbete is reported to have gone against party leaders’ wishes when she decided the no confidence vote would be held by secret ballot. Zuma survived the motion, but it appeared 26 ANC MPs voted for him to go while another nine apparently abstained.
“It is the 9th of August, a day after the 8th of August 2017!” yelled Northern Cape Premier Sylvia Lucas, a Zuma supporter who lost the leadership of her province in a recent provincial congress.
Zuma took the podium to loud applause and chants of “Zuma!” After surviving the vote on Tuesday, he reportedly said ANC MPs were being bribed to vote against him and they should take and spread the money offered. The EFF said Zuma was encouraging politicians to take bribes and had admitted to knowing of an alleged crime without reporting it. The party said “it is now evident that Zuma encourages a culture of corruption”.
The president’s speech on Wednesday was subdued and on-script. Key allies like Dlamini, Susan Shabangu, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Ace Magashule and Nathi Mthethwa were there and Zuma could act as though Tuesday never happened. His Women’s Day speech was more interesting for its omissions. He failed to mention Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training Mduduze Manana, who has admitted to assaulting a woman at a nightclub at the weekend but is yet to be arrested.
“It is not good, we need to prosecute those who abuse women,” Zuma said on those who cover up crimes against women. “All persons, regardless of positions in society, must face the full might of the law when they attack women and children.” He made no mention, however, of Manana.
“South Africa must be safe for women and children. In every corner of our country the South African Police Service has been directed to treat crimes against women and children as apex crimes, the priority crimes,” he continued, outlining the government’s efforts to improve safety and socio-economic opportunities available to women.
Dlamini said men from across all sectors of society, including ANC leaders, must show their commitment to fighting violence against women. The ANCWL has endorsed Dlamini-Zuma to succeed Zuma as party president and both Mbete and Lindiwe Sisulu plan to contest the top job. Dlamini said it’s insulting to ask if a woman is ready to lead. “We are ready. We have been ready.” DM
Photo: President Jacob Zuma and Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini during the official opening of the Disability Rights Summit held at Saint Georges Hotel in Centurion, March 2016. (Photo: GCIS)