I am not a deputy just because I’m a woman, says Lindiwe Sisulu
One of the least likely contenders to lead the ANC says she has a plan to unite the party, root out corruption and get the country back on track
SA’s future is being undermined by rampant corruption and faction fights in the ANC ahead of its conference to choose a new leader to success President Jacob Zuma, Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu says.
Sisulu, who is vying to succeed Zuma as the ANC leader at the party’s national conference in December, made her comments on Wednesday in a wide-ranging discussion at a town hall meeting in Johannesburg hosted by Radio 702.
She is considered an outside contender in a race in which Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the president’s ex-wife and former chairwoman of the African Union Commission, are widely seen as the frontrunners.
Sisulu ruled out accepting the position as deputy on either ticket.
"I was approached to run for president of the ANC and ultimately those people did not ask me to be a deputy," Sisulu said.
"I am not a deputy to anyone. I am not a deputy just because I am a woman."
The task of uniting the ANC after the damage to the party’s image caused by Zuma’s scandal-ridden presidency is daunting.
A bitter split in KwaZulu-Natal has effectively left the province without a party leadership, and ANC allies such as the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the Communist Party are openly calling for Zuma to go.
In the local government elections in August last year, the ANC suffered its worst electoral performance since the end of apartheid in 1994.
"I have a plan to return the ANC and the country back to its glory," Sisulu said.
She said money was being used to buy the loyalty of ANC members and branches, which would decide the next party leader.
Other contenders to succeed Zuma as party leader and its presidential candidate in 2019 elections include party treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize, parliamentary speaker Baleka Mbete, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe, and Matthews Phosa, a former party official.
Sisulu said the party was still undecided about the expropriation of land without compensation.
Graft had become so ingrained in SA, she said, that the country needed a corruption tribunal to deal with it.
"We don’t want people to think we are using this thing of corruption as a tool for factionalism," she said. "It is a real problem. It is unbearable. It is out in the open and completely unbearable."
Sisulu said she was willing to reveal how her presidential campaign is being funded.
“There are people, especially my family and friends, who are offering and have offered to pay. What attracts me to my campaign is I know everybody who is in that campaign has come out of commitment‚ deep-seated commitment. Not one of them has come hoping to get anything out of it‚” she said.
“I would like to give you all my account numbers‚ I’d like to give you the constituency funds that we use and we send‚ not KMPG‚ but any auditor there.
“Every penny is accounted for from where it comes from and every penny that is used is used for a particular purpose.”
Asked about the intelligence report that featured in the sacking of Pravin Gordhan and Mcebisi Jonas‚ Sisulu said the president had gone on record saying his relationship with Gordhan had deteriorated.
“At the back of it there could have been this report that was proven to be fake because there was a public press conference at which Solly Mapaila read from the script of this particular bogus report. It ought not to be all over the place‚ very badly written‚” she said.
“I am not sure if any steps have been taken to verify that report. The inspector-general should not have been sitting on this matter for so long‚ this is an important matter.
“Intelligence needs to be dealt with instantaneously; beyond that it is history. You can’t be sitting on that kind of report.
“The Gupta leaks have been floating around‚ no one is doing anything about it‚ they have become normal. It is a new normal to find something in the newspaper about the Gupta leaks.
“Nobody has actually said we’ve investigated this and this is what the truth is and this is what is untrue about this.”
Bloomberg and TimesLIVE