Nkosazane Dlamini Zuma at the 5th ANC National Policy Conference at Nasrec Expo on 5 July 2017.
Markdata and African Response tapped into 16 focus groups of ANC supporters in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Gauteng and the Eastern Cape, giving a voice to ANC supporters who voted for the party in the 2014 and 2016 elections.
Respondents perceive Dlamini-Zuma as trustworthy and intelligent, but they do flag concerns about her proximity to President Jacob Zuma, who is believed to support her campaign to succeed him.
As Dlamini-Zuma aims to take the ANC presidency, her message of using her experience to bring about radical economic transformation has struck a chord with certain party members.
They believe Dlamini-Zuma is an intelligent and brave leader and her experience in government and as African Union Commission chairperson make her a strong candidate to become the first woman to lead the party.
Her campaign to replace Zuma also seems to be gathering pace – albeit hitting a few speed bumps along the way.
“I’m not sure if she’s being seen as the rightful person to carry that gender ticket. But on its own, its a very rightful ticket and I think she can push for it that woman need to be given a chance to lead the ANC. Its very valid. As to whether she’s the right candidate still needs to be dealt with,” says Ralph Mathekga, political analyst.
ANC members are concerned though about Dlamini-Zuma’s association with the president, with some believing she will carry too much baggage if elected as Zuma’s chosen successor.
“Credibility problems for Dlamini-Zuma. Suppose one assumes that she can track her own way – which is highly unlikely – her allies are concerned about how far she will be able to manouvere to take South Africa out of the stalemate of corruption. And unfortunately, the people you surround yourself with are those that indicate which direction you will be headed,” said Karima Brown, political analyst.
South Africa will know in less than 60 days if Dlamini-Zuma has the support to claim the ANC presidency – or if another candidate beats her on the road to Nasrec.
Read more about how The Race polls were conducted here.