THE people who are saying the ANC leadership race must not be opened until the policy conference in June are the same ones opening it.
ANC President, Jacob Zuma, said, “The ANC is ready for that [a woman president] – in fact, the party has been ready for some time.”
The ANC Women’s League also pronounced that the country was ready for a woman president and that their preferred candidate was Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Hands up if you have ever heard of the following people: Lungi Gcabashe, Dikeledi Magadzi, Regina Mahaule, Jane Manganye, Pinky Mokoto, Sue van der Merwe, Pam Tshwete and Joyce Mashamba.
These are ANC NEC members and all of them rank higher than Lindiwe Zulu in the NEC list. Let me make this analogy: When a vendor displays a bag of potatoes she only shows the top potatoes and by virtue of what you see from the five or six visible ones you make your decision to purchase the whole bag.
Whether the rest of the potatoes are as good as the top ones is not known until the purchase is made. That is what happens when the slate politics operate. We end up with members of the highest decision-making bodies in between conferences whom we know almost nothing about.
These are the people who decide who the next president of the country is. Are these the intentions of those who want to keep the lid on the leadership race until only five months before elections are held? Is five months enough to scrutinise the 80-plus leaders who will be responsible for many important decisions that affect our lives?
Should we, the voters, be given the opportunity to interrogate the credentials of those who will have such power over us? Unless a dramatic loss of vote happens in 2019, chances are the ANC will be the ruling party, so whoever they choose as their leader will most probably be our president.
Bear in mind, the 750 000-plus ANC members are a drop in the ocean compared to the 16 million voters who took the ANC to power.
So, as much as they do not like non-members to involve themselves in the inner workings of the ANC, it can not be avoided, nor should it be.
We deserve to know the potential leaders of our country and that for which they stand. We do not want a “buy one, get all” approach as it is now.
The ANC structures have a right to elect their own leaders according to their constitution. We grant them that. But for all our sakes, let us know who those leaders are so that we have a chance to scrutinise them thoroughly. Open up the race now.