POLITICS LIVE: Is this the moment where Zuma backs Dlamini-Zuma?
President Jacob Zuma has said that the ANC is ready for a woman president in an interview with the SABC's Nguni radio station.
This from the story by Penwell Dlamini:
“It is no longer a discussion in the ANC whether a women can take a high leadership position or not. This discussion has been had before and the party agreed that anyone who is seen to have the qualities to lead the movement‚ there won’t be any problem for that person to do so‚” Zuma said.
“The ANC is ready for that‚ in fact the party has been ready for some time.”
He added: “If you look in government‚ women are holding key positions and you can see they are doing a good job… no one in the ANC is questioning whether a woman can be the president or not.
“It will depend on the integrity that she possesses and whether members see her fit for the position. We no longer look at whether the person is a woman or man. This is our belief in the ANC.”
Of course, Zuma's observation is to be welcomed. As is his belief that presidential candidates should be judged on their integrity. Cough. But the timing of his remarks suggests something else.
Barely two days ago, the ANC Women's League came out swinging for his former wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, saying it backed her for the ANC presidency.
This caused a minor uproar, with the party's secretary general, Gwede Mantashe, desperately trying to put the leadership genie back in the bottle.
Zuma's remarks appear to have been timed to boost Dlamini-Zuma's prospects and suggest that he does not have faith in his deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa.
But don't forget that Zuma has a soft spot for the embattled Speaker, Baleka Mbete, who has shredded her credibility - and that of parliament - in an effort to save him from himself.
Zuma's manoeuvres this year will be based on a simple calculation: Will the next ANC president keep me out of jail or not?