Duduzane Zuma kicks off bid for presidency

First stop: informing a KZN branch he wants to be its new chair

27 June 2021 - 00:00 By zimasa matiwane
subscribe Just R20 for the first month. Support independent journalism by subscribing to our digital news package.
Subscribe now
Duduzane Zuma delivers food parcels to a child-headed household in Quarry Heights, KwaZulu-Natal.
Duduzane Zuma delivers food parcels to a child-headed household in Quarry Heights, KwaZulu-Natal.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

Newlands East in Durban is far from the glitzy heights of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, but that is where Duduzane Zuma is seemingly launching his bid to become president.

The young Zuma has met leaders of the ANC's ward 11 branch, which includes the former coloured township of Newlands East, and the impoverished areas of Siyanda and Quarry Heights near KwaMashu, eThekwini.

He is said to have told them about his ambitious plan to be elected chair of the branch so that he will be in a position to challenge President Cyril Ramaphosa for the ANC presidency next year.

Duduzane does not live in the area, but the township is home to his wife, Shanice Stork.

ANC insiders said Duduzane has met other branch leaders around KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State to popularise his campaign.

But Duduzane will have a difficult task convincing influential party structures as there seems to be little appetite in the ANC to challenge Ramaphosa next year.

Even if the radical economic transformation forces decide to field a candidate, they are likely to look among senior leaders of the party.

Duduzane's campaign has already divided the branch, as some suspect he may use its influence to campaign for former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede to return as the party's regional chair.

Others said they are peeved by the arrogance he displayed when he informed them of his intention to be chair.

Yesterday, Duduzane intensified his campaign by visiting a child-headed household and bringing the family food parcels.

He confirmed to the Sunday Times that he is campaigning to be elected chairman of the branch.

"We are just waiting for the BGM [branch general meeting] to sit, to be elected chair of the branch. Yes, that is the intention. We will see what the outcome is whatever the branch decides but I'm feeling very positive," Duduzane said on the sidelines of the campaign trail.

Duduzane said the socioeconomic conditions of the area and those of many other communities had propelled him to enter the political scene because that is, he said, the best vehicle to bring about change.

Asked if he is using poor communities as a means to climb the political ladder as he doesn't live in the community, Duduzane said he is familiar with the community through family ties.

"Just because I don't live here doesn't mean I don't spend time here. I have family in this community - my in-laws are here. Me not being here 100% of my time should not take away from the work that needs to be done.

"It is the same in many communities around the country, people leave and never look back. The whole idea behind what I'm trying to do is to come back and make a difference. These are conditions of people I know," he said.

He has been lobbying members of the local ANC branch and has held at least two meetings with them, at which he informed them of his plan to challenge Ramaphosa for the leadership of the ANC.

"Yes, the ultimate goal is to contest the presidency of the ANC now. No, we are not talking about the future. Everything we are doing is now, I'm not attaching a date or a conference to what I am doing."

Duduzane said his biggest motivation behind his bid for the presidency of the ANC is that he does not want to be part of a political leadership that makes promises without delivering on them and changing lives.

He is aware that he is entering the political scene with heavy baggage attached to his name, with corruption allegations against him and his father, former president Jacob Zuma, but said that will not stop him.

"My father is my father, he can never be baggage to me. He is family. How people perceive it, how he has lived his life and what he has done, that is for him. I am walking my own journey.

"Look around, my father is not here. This is something I am doing out of my own volition," said Duduzane.

The Sunday Times was unable to establish when the branch will meet to elect new leaders, but insiders said Duduzane's election as branch chair is a "done deal".

An insider who attended two meetings where Duduzane laid out his proposal for election told the Sunday Times that Zuma jnr is looking for political legitimacy, and fighting him is pointless as he is "very popular".

"What he wants is to be elected branch chairperson. We tried to negotiate and give him secretary but he refused.

"He says he will not disrupt our plans here in the region and won't even be involved in the running of the branch.

"He just wants to position himself as an elected leader so that he can contest Cyril in the next conference," the insider said.

subscribe Just R20 for the first month. Support independent journalism by subscribing to our digital news package.
Subscribe now

Would you like to comment on this article?
Sign up (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.