POLITICS

NDZ: I Will Not Ignore Allegations Against Zuma If I Am President

“Where allegations are made against any person or persons, these must be investigated."

11/09/2017 13:32 SAST | Updated 11/09/2017 13:47 SAST
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Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is congratulated by her former husband, President Jacob Zuma, in Addis Ababa after being sworn in as head of the AU Commission in 2012.

Presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma will not ignore corruption allegations against President Jacob Zuma if she were to take up the ANC's top spot in December.

In an exclusive interview, Dr Dlamini-Zuma told HuffPost SA that, when allegations were made against any person, these had to be investigated.

HuffPost SA asked Dlamini-Zuma whether, as president, she would instruct the National Prosecuting Authority to prosecute Zuma or have the charges investigated.

"Where allegations are made against any person or persons, these must be investigated so that the nation knows whether there is a basis for charges and to provide them with an opportunity to answer to the allegations," she said.

Dlamini-Zuma has been approached by various ANC structures, particularly the ANC Women's League, to run for ANC president -- a nomination that she has made herself available for.

Where allegations are made against any person or persons, these must be investigated so that the nation knows whether there is a basis for charge.

Asked if she would spearhead the fight against state capture and corruption, Dlamini-Zuma said her record spoke for itself.

"Wherever I have found untoward actions in the departments that I was in charge of, I acted. The department of home affairs, under my leadership, not only radically improved services to all South Africans, but we also got a clean audit, something that was seen as very unlikely before," she said.

Speaking about her qualities as a presidential candidate, she said the ANC branches should ultimately decide whether she's worthy.

"I am passionate about people, about South Africa and Africa, and about women and young people and their issues. I have been in their service throughout my life, in addition to the experience of 18 years in government, and my time at the helm of the AU Commission," she said.

"I believe that you must have a vision and the determination and persistence to implement this vision."

Where allegations are made against any person or persons, these must be investigated so that the nation knows whether there is a basis for charge.

She believes South Africa has been ready for a female president since Charlotte Maxeke got her science degree in 1901 and went on to lead political struggles.

"Women across Africa constitute over half the population. Their participation in leadership [positions] in all areas of life is not only a human right, it also makes economic and political sense. I believe women in leadership bring perspectives that can speed up change and promote inclusion," she said.

Read: President Dlamini-Zuma? President Mbete? President Sisulu?

"The ANC, as the party that deploys its MPs, will assign tasks like it does for any of its public representatives. I am ready to serve in whatever capacity."

Responding to media reports that she was to be sworn in as an MP and could take over from Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande, she said it was a matter that rested with ANC officials and Zuma.

I believe women in leadership brings perspectives that can speed up change, and promote inclusion.

But if she became the minister, she would continue to advocate for free education.

"I have advocated for an African and South African skills revolution and continue to do so. Our young people, in institutions of higher learning and out of school, need access to quality education that equips them to innovate, transform the economy and be productive citizens," she said.

"The demands of students for decolonising of education and for free education are legitimate and we must engage and converse as a country how to make it happen over time."

The party is heading towards its national conference in December where, among other issues, it will vote for its next president. Dlamini-Zuma and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa are seen as frontrunners for the top job.