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Minister Dlamini Zuma should make the obvious move and step down from Cabinet

Minister Dlamini Zuma should make the obvious move and step down from Cabinet
Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, (Photo: Gallo Images / Darren Stewart)

After her principled stand in Parliament on Tuesday, 13 December, the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister should resign. It is the next principled thing to do. 

Yet, in an interview on Newsroom Afrika on Wednesday, 14 December, Dlamini Zuma prevaricated. “It depends,” she told interviewer Xoli Mngambi. He pushed. She replied: “It depends… wait. Ask me that question in January, and I will answer it.”

It sounded like Dlamini Zuma is banking on a change of ANC President this weekend as the ANC goes into its 55th national conference. While the Minister did not clear the hurdle to be nominated as a presidential candidate, she is still planning to run from the floor and said she had not yet thrown in the towel. Dlamini Zuma lost a presidential bid to Ramaphosa by a narrow margin in 2017.


She will need 25% of 4,519 delegates to support a run from the floor. The Minister could not muster the support of the Women’s League, which you can see in the graphic, voted for primarily male leaders. She only received 480 nominations for a position on the party’s NEC, polling behind tourism minister Lindiwe Sisulu, who got 722 nominations. 


But now that Dlamini Zuma has made the most principled stand ever by a Cabinet member in the ANC, she needs to take the obvious next step: resign from Cabinet. 

She serves at the pleasure of President Cyril Ramaphosa, who might have been expecting a resignation letter to plop into his inbox this morning if he was not so busy watching his back.  

The State Capture Commission found that Parliament (or the ANC at Parliament) had been supine through the State Capture years. So, by announcing from the podium that she would be voting with a majority of the opposition for the establishment of an impeachment inquiry to be set up at Parliament after the Section 89 report by former chief justice Sandile Ngcobo, Dlamini-Zuma broke a mould of ANC politics. Ramaphosa is taking the Section 89 panel report on the review and is awaiting a decision on whether the Constitutional Court will hear it. 

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Of course, if she assumed her action would see an army follow her, it didn’t work that way. The caucus voted that the report should not be adopted (Ramaphosa is still taking it on review) a comfortable majority. The former health minister Zweli Mkhize and the Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu dodged Parliament. Dlamini Zuma was left with the support of a few RET die-hards who voted with the opposition.

You can’t say or not, as some are doing, that this means Ramaphosa is in with certainty this weekend at the party’s elective conference. He has the highest number of nominations by a country mile, but the dynamics are fluid, and the converging interests brittle and self-concerned. The ANC has but one year left in power as a majority party. The Phala Phala scandal has whacked his image as Mr Renew and Reform. 

What-about questions to Dlamini Zuma on whether or not she spoke out on State Capture under former president Jacob Zuma or against an almost genocidal HIV/Aids policy under former president Thabo Mbeki can be asked, but they are moot now. 

She was out of the country at the African Union most of the time, and looting was entrenched in the state. She took a principled stance and now needs to take the next one. But will she? 

Dlamini-Zuma is more prevalent in the ANC than she is in the country. Last week, the courts ordered Dlamini Zuma to provide the rationale for her Covid-19 regulations, which displayed an authoritarian streak. 

Her failure to resign may mean that Dlamini Zuma knows that her time in politics may be up beyond this term as Cabinet minister. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Kevin Jacobs says:

    Yes please resign or get fired. She is another one of the cadres that has no demonstrable evidence for her years in government

  • Sid Peimer says:

    I don’t understand. The article proposes that she takes a principled stand. Principles are not currently a catalyst for this – and many other – politicians to take action. Or am I missing something? That’s like saying my car runs on water.

  • Nic Campbell says:

    There is absolutely nothing principled about her. She won’t give up feeding at the trough that easily! Where was she when her ex husband pillaged. Not a peep!

  • Jon Quirk says:

    She is clearly playing the long game, and as Tony Leon put it, a weak is a long time in SA’s fulgent circumstances.

    Ramaphosa must now move decisively; sack the compromised ministers, remove the PP – Hlope has been sorted, so he now needs to emasculate and/or remove Arthur Fraser. Nevermind a weak – in today’s circumstances the weak are measured in hours …

  • Peter Slingsby says:

    Back at the start of the Covid lock down we felt an icy grip on our hearts as this person pronounced upon what was ‘not allowed’ under lockdown. We are mighty thankful that this Stalinist admirer of dictatorial power is fading from our political life … but she won’t be totally forgotten. The Zoll song will live on to remind us that we are a resilient, humour-loving country that suffers fools badly …

    • John Gosling says:

      Brilliantly articulated!

    • Alan Paterson says:

      Thank you, did not know the Zol song. What a treat, will forward it to friends and family. Indeed NDZ will now never be forgotten! Our favourite doek lady is renowned for her effervescent sense of humour and I’m sure she will play this every evening to accompany her after-dinner brandy and cigarette.

  • Beyond Fedup says:

    An utterly useless dour and sour cadre and party apparatchik who has no place in running this country. She dares to criticise Ramaphosa whilst keeping quiet about the wholesale destruction and thieving in this county whilst her despicable ex husband and minions were in full throttle. A real incompetent hypocrite- one minute she is anti the step aside rule and then does a 180 degree turn calling for Ramaphosa to step down. Another typical vile RET moron who only wants to use the law to when it suits her. Do SA a favour and disappear down the shithole where you belong.

  • Andrew Blaine says:

    To what extent were COVID regulations an exercise to measure the response to arbitrary authoritarian rule? Some of them were really obtuse and overtly designed to annoy!

  • Roelf Pretorius says:

    Her only principles in politics is her submission to the authority of her ex, Jacob Zuma, and her devotion to the negative, destructive ideology of African Nationalism that is also supported by the RET faction inside and outside of the ANC. I am waiting to see if she still gets a place in the NEC of the ANC. If she does not, I think there is a good chance that she may be fired as minister if she does not resign.

  • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

    The Ramaphosa journalist fails to understand that even if you serve under the pleasure of the President, he has to explain himself as he changes Cabinet. Thse are the very same journalists who were strutting around condemning Zuma for removing Nene and Gordhan who Zuma felt they were not part of his agenda including looting and high treason. Now, they have a different standard for Ramaphosa which is journalistic dishonesty. Ramaphosa was voted by a party not the electorate if this journalist does not understand. Nkosazana is not serving Ramaphosa but the country. We need objective journalist not those who have been peddling lies about a disciplinary that is non -existent. Nkosazana is correct unless the this journalist is privy on what actually happened in Phals Phala as the public remains in the dark.

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