Although Duduzane Zuma and his backers believe his election as branch chairperson in an eThekwini ward is a step towards the ANC presidency, party insiders say this is a pipe dream.
On Thursday, Duduzane Zuma was elected unopposed as chairperson of the ANC’s ward 11 in Newlands East, Durban. He does not live in this neighbourhood himself, but this is the area where his wife, Shanice Stork, comes from.
Ward 11, which has about 42 000 voters, is located between the N2 and KwaMashu, about 10km north of the Durban city centre, and came under the control of the DA for the first time following this year’s municipal election after ANC support fell by 16 percentage points.
ANC eThekwini spokesperson Ntando Khuzwayo told The Witness that, during the course of Thursday morning, Duduzane himself went to encourage people to attend the meeting on Thursday evening to make sure that a quorum was reached.
Duduzane believes that his role as branch chairperson is the first step to ultimately challenging Cyril Ramaphosa for the presidency of the governing party at the ANC’s leadership summit next year.
The 39-year-old multimillionaire and business partner of the Gupta family confirmed in an interview with City Press in March that he was on his way back from Dubai, where he has lived for the past five years, to officially start his political career.
Since then, photos of him handing out food parcels to poor communities around Durban have been shared regularly on social media, especially after the large-scale looting and unrest that plagued the city after his father was jailed in July for disregarding a court order.
Although Duduzane has not yet been officially endorsed by the ANC’s so-called radical economic transformation (RET) faction, his policy proposals fit it perfectly.
Some of the proposals include free tertiary education, land expropriation without compensation and the nationalisation of the SA Reserve Bank.
However, ANC sources say Duduzane’s dream of an ANC presidency is unrealistic, especially with Ramaphosa still considered the preferred candidate even though the ANC received less than 50% of national support and lost control of several municipalities for the first time this year.
An ANC source, who is a Ramaphosa loyalist, told City Press on Thursday: He is too young to stand for the presidency. And, in the ANC, we have a culture of choosing someone from the party’s top six [leadership positions].
“President Ramaphosa will be elected to a second term. The RET vampires really don’t stand a chance of making a comeback.”
While only Duduzane has openly announced his candidacy so far, City Press understands that plans are already being made for Ramaphosa’s campaign.
As for other party leaders, only Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu’s name is being mentioned in the corridors of Luthuli House as someone who might want to throw her name into the hat to challenge the president.