Lindiwe Sisulu has not given up on being the next leader of the ANC
Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu believes she still stands a good chance in the race for the ANC presidency.
This is despite evidence that her campaign is faltering, with Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma dominating branch nominations.
In an interview with BDlive, Sisulu said she was confident that a unity ticket, bringing the party together and putting an end to factional battles, was the most viable option for party members.
She feels she is the unity ticket and has vowed to reach out to other candidates when the time comes to ensure that the ANC does not emerge from the conference even more divided than it did after the 2007 gathering in Polokwane.
Sisulu remains resolute in the face of tough competition, because the "stakes are too high".
Even after admitting that the ANC presidential contest was largely viewed as a "two-horse race" between Ramaphosa and Dlamini-Zuma, she said failure could only be registered in December, at the elective conference.
Sisulu said the two sectors of society in support of Dlamini-Zuma and Ramaphosa were determined to use any means at their disposal to discredit perceived opponents.
"One of the reasons why we entered this race is to remove just that factionalism, that polarisation of the ANC, because this is not what we fought for. If we had been polarised when we fought apartheid, we would not have gotten here, and when we did find that there is polarisation, we had the kind of president who was able to call a consultative conference to say what is happening here," she said.
Sisulu was associated with Ramaphosa’s campaign before the official announcement of his slate. Describing this perceived association as "de-campaigning", she said it had created an impression that she had agreed to run with the deputy president, even though there had been no formal discussions.
Her campaign team said that although they had not been approached by Dlamini-Zuma, they were willing to engage with other campaigns that shared a common goal in exploring how the party could be united.
Sisulu said it was unfortunate that the elective process was not permitting a testing of the candidates’ abilities. She also cast aspersions on the branch nomination processes, bemoaning the use of money and "influence politics".
ANC branch nominations closed at the weekend amid complaints of illegitimate processes, with some meetings descending into chaos and violence.
She said if the process were run by electoral commissions instead of individuals, the process would be smoother.
"Right now it is how much influence individuals have on the branches and how they can manipulate the branches which distorts the values of the ANC and character of the ANC.… It should not be dependent on how much you can influence the branches, but the branches should speak for themselves."