South Africa

The story of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma plus 5 highlights from 'Vrye Weekblad'

The story of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma plus 5 highlights from 'Vrye Weekblad'

There have always been two schools of thought about Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma: uncharismatic-yet-competent, or Zuma-in-a-doek (in the words of political analyst Justice Malala).

Under the corona spotlight a few others have sprung up: “prime minister”, lockdown tsar, the power behind Cyril Ramaphosa's throne.

But who is NDZ really?

Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini-Zuma was very nearly SA’s president. There were only 197 votes between her and Ramaphosa at Nasrec in 2017. And this was not only because she was riding the coattails of the Jacob Zuma faction. 

Fact is, she has always been popular in the ANC. The public is used to her lack of charisma (we know by now that not smiling at media conferences is her trademark) but inside the party her roots grow deep and strong – from being a minister in Nelson Mandela’s first cabinet a quarter of a century ago to almost being president – and NDZ is proper ANC royalty.

Read more about our ministers, our Covid fight, and more news and analysis in this week's edition of Afrikaans digital weekly Vrye Weekblad.

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There was plenty of scandal and drama in her career: Sarafina, Virodene, Zimbabwe and now cigarettes.

But Dlamini-Zuma’s political star kept shining bright. 

But is she the power behind the throne, one so powerful that she can tell the president himself what to do? Is there a secret faction paralysing Ramaphosa?

No, says analyst Oscar van Heerden.  

“You have to understand how this works constitutionally. With the announcement of the state of disaster she, as minister of Cogta, became the boss of lockdown and how it would be implemented and enforced. She has no special powers. It is her job to make sure the rules, as decided on by the collective, are enforced. That is why she is the one behind the podium.”

But have her political ambitions been snuffed out?

Not necessarily, says analyst Ebrahim Fakir. 

“If it becomes possible for her to try to shoot for the presidency again, I don't think she won't do it, but that is not on the cards right now.”

Read the full article in this week's Vrye Weekblad

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma: die vrou agter die geen-glimlag...

Must-read articles in this week's Vrye Weekblad

>> Browse the full July 10 edition

JUDICIAL CRACKS | Many of the pillars of SA's democracy have become shaky over the last decade or so, but one seemed solid as a rock: the judiciary. Or so we thought. The cracks we are seeing now are not new though.Hlophe, Mogoeng en die krake in die regbank

THE FREE STATE IS VROT | The Free State's municipalities are in tatters and the provincial government needs to step up; but not like they did in Metsimaholo.Van Vrystaat tot Vrotstaat: bankrot, verdeeld, onbevoeg, leierloos,...

FREE TO READ – COVID DREAMS | Many of us have been having weird and scary dreams since the start of the pandemic. We speak to SA's Prof Dreams about Covid's lullaby. Wat jou pandemie-drome beteken

FREE TO READ – THERE IS CORONA IN THE AIR | What causes the most infections: droplets or aerosol? Why are we still debating this? We look at this issue, as well as other questions about the pandemicCovid-19: Waarom grootte saak maak in twis oor hoe virus versprei

SO YOU THINK YOU'RE CLEVER? | From Covid to cheese, art and the Quran – this week's 20 questions are a real test of your general knowledge. Vrye Weekblad se Groot Vasvra: Ronde 6