Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma spoke yesterday on Ukhozi FM about the sexist manner in which she is referred to as the ‘ex-wife’ of President Zuma, slamming fake news about the defeat of the African National Congress (ANC) were a woman to lead the ANC and questioned the agenda of those who imply she needs President Jacob Zuma to prop her up.
Dlamini-Zuma reminded listeners that she had a government career long before Zuma was president, that she had served in senior government roles under Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, while Zuma was still an MEC in KwaZulu-Natal.
“I divorced him in 1998, when I was health minister, and long before he became president. He wasn’t even deputy president. He was an MEC in KwaZulu-Natal. I was already in government and had a career for myself,” Dlamini-Zuma said.
“But people are quick to forget. I was never first lady of South Africa. And I have no aspirations to marry a president. I have kids with him, so it is inevitable that I will see him from time to time. When you are divorced, you don’t have to be enemies. But I am not his wife,” said Dlamini-Zuma. “Even when we were in exile I hardly saw him; we lived together only in Lusaka.”
Dlamini-Zuma went on to question the mischievous smear campaign against her as a leader and person in her own right, calling out the patriarchy that informs such actions.
“It’s mischievous people who use their patriarchy to smear my name. It’s worse when it comes from women and fellow comrades, who know I have my own track record in the ANC and in government. I am a doctor and one of the longest-serving cabinet ministers under former presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki. Before Zuma became president,” she said.
“Why would people now think I can only succeed with him pushing me? Why are they raising this issue only now, if not to discredit me and unfairly judge me? Their agenda is clear: women can’t lead. There has to be a man behind them.
“There will always be sexist people in society. They even go to the extent of printing fake news. They say the ANC will lose the 2019 elections if a woman leads the party at the polls. Only a man can unite the party and help us win, they say.”
And it got worse, Dlamini-Zuma said: “The Sunday Times printed a fake story that I live at Nkandla, that I even have a house there. It’s pure fabrication to push a particular narrative – that I am being propelled to the top by Zuma. I have ordered them to retract the story and apologise,” she adds.