Cape Town – Contenders for the presidency of the African National Congress (ANC) should not let losing cause divisions in the movement, presidential candidate Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said on Sunday.
“Comrades, if the branches elect you, and they put you in the contest and you accept it, then you must go in there with a spirit to win, but understanding that you can lose,” Dlamini-Zuma said in Nyanga, about 20km southeast of the Cape Town CBD.
Speaking at the 73rd birthday celebrations of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) she said: “Can you imagine if every time there is a contest there is division? We will have no organisation.”
Dlamini-Zuma told the hundreds of people packed into the Zolani community centre that democracy should not divide an organisation.
“Our organisation’s election is simple. You enter, the branches elect.
“You lose, you follow the winner. You win; you embrace everybody, that’s how it is.”
The former minister of home affairs and health returned from chairing the African Union Commission to enter the race for the top job, with the backing of the ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) and the ANCYL.
The ANCWL went as far as banning members from attending Cyril Ramaphosa’s events in their uniforms.
Dlamini-Zuma’s main rival to take over from her former husband President Jacob Zuma at the party’s elective conference in December is Ramaphosa, deputy president of the party and the country.
READ: If I don’t win, I’m ready to be led – Dlamini-Zuma
In the run up to Zuma’s election as party president, several high ranking members broke away to form the Congress of the People as they supported his predecessor Thabo Mbeki for another term.
Dlamini-Zuma is expected to be sworn in as a Member of Parliament soon, in a move rumoured to be paving the way for Zuma’s exit.
The event in Nyanga was billed to start at 13:00 but eventually kicked off hours later with a hall packed with supporters, some already wearing T-shirts with “NDZ for president” on them.
“She will never get it,” said one man leaning on a car outside. “Ramaphosa will have six provinces [on his side].”
Friends Anelisa Mpande and Nangamso Tube disagreed, saying Dlamini-Zuma had just the right experience needed for the job.