By Joe Brock in Johannesburg
The chances of South African President Jacob Zuma’s ex-wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, becoming the next leader of the African National Congress were given a boost on Saturday with the endorsement of the ruling party’s women’s division.
The ANC will pick a new leader at a conference in December and, given its national dominance since coming to power at the end of apartheid in 1994, the winner is likely to go on to be South Africa’s next president when elections are held in 2019. Dlamini-Zuma, the outgoing chairwoman of the African Union, is viewed as a frontrunner. She is a Zulu, the largest tribe in South Africa, and is expected to have the backing of her former husband, who will have a major say in who succeeds him.
Women’s League’s endorsement is the first for a specific candidate by a national section of the ANC and will intensify the debate over who will take the party forward after it suffered its worst local election results last year. Dr Dlamini-Zuma was regarded as a capable technocrat during her time as South Africa’s minister of home affairs between 2009 and 2012 and has since gained international exposure during her time as the first female head of the AU.