Lindiwe Sisulu top female candidate to lead ANC‚ poll shows

04 September 2017 - 16:38
By Olebogeng Molatlhwa
Lindiwe Sisulu. File photo.
Image: Trevor Samson Lindiwe Sisulu. File photo.

ANC national executive committee member Lindiwe Sisulu is emerging as the leading female candidate to lead the ANC and the country.

Sisulu has a 29 percentage point lead over her closest rival‚ former African Union commission Chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Dlamini-Zuma’s support dropped from 28% on July 12 to 23% by August 11 while Sisulu‚ whose support had already seen significant gains‚ saw her lead stretch from 45% to 52% in the same period.

This is according to a survey by polling company Intelligent Insights in which 1‚640 people - 902 female and 738 male - were asked about their preferences ahead of the ANC’s hugely anticipated elective conference in December as well as the 2019 general elections thereafter.

The poll appears to indicate that Sisulu’s candidature is having the effect of splitting Dlamini-Zuma’s votes‚ with just three months to go before the conference.

An official within the Sisulu campaign said their own polling indicated that she had leap-frogged Mkhize and Dlamini-Zuma and was now second only to Ramaphosa but added that it was too soon to talk about running mates.

"We are encouraged by the polling but it does not give a full picture because we only began campaigning towards the end of July. It is too early to be talking about running mates‚ unless you’re talking about slates which Lindiwe Sisulu is opposed to. The tricky part for Cyril is that we are the fastest growing [campaign]‚" the official said.

Asked whether the Ramaphosa camp had approached Sisulu to run as his deputy‚ the official said: "Nobody is going to deny that. There has been an approach."

Sisulu's spokesman Makhosini Nkosi said the campaign was focused solely on getting her elected ANC president in December.

"Comrade Lindiwe Sisulu believes now is the time to elect a female president. She is of the view that the more female candidates there are‚ the better. As far as we are concerned‚ we are trying to get Lindiwe Sisulu elected president. That is the mandate of the branches that nominated her‚" said Nkosi.

Asked whether the Sisulu campaign had been approached about possible tie-ups‚ Nkosi said: "I am not aware."

An ANC national executive committee member‚ who spoke on condition of anonymity‚ said the result indicated a strong desire by members to rid the party of allegations of capture by the controversial Gupta family.

The NEC member said consultations about a possible tie-up between Ramaphosa and Sisulu was the most favourable.

"We've put that point across but we've not finalised consultations with Comrade Lindiwe's people but that is definitely the combination that we want to emerge‚" said the source.