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'The face of poverty is feminine especially in South Africa' – Dlamini Zuma

'The face of poverty is feminine especially in South Africa' – Dlamini Zuma

South Africa

A leading contender to lead South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, has reiterated her position that the country, one of the continent’s most advanced, was ready to be led by a woman.

The 68-year-old former African Union Commission chairperson, said as the backbone of any society, women play a crucial role and yet are the most marginalized politically, something that needed to stop.

‘‘Since we are the majority of the population and we produce the rest of the population why can’t we lead? If we lead our families and communities why can’t we lead South Africa,’‘ she rhetorically asked.

The face of poverty is feminine especially in South Africa because women suffer triple oppression. We are oppressed because we are poor, black and female. The triple and persistent challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment affect women more than they do men.

‘‘If we elect a female President we can look to her to empower women and fast track women’s emancipation,’‘ a former health minister and leading member of the ANC said. She is also a former wife of President Zuma – who has endorsed her candidature during the December congress.

She was addressing a Catholic Women’s Union in the town of Marrainhill on Saturday when she made the pronouncement. According to her, poverty in the Rainbow nation had assumed a gender, it was feminine thanks to what she described as the triple oppression.

‘‘The face of poverty is feminine especially in South Africa because women suffer triple oppression. We are oppressed because we are poor, black and female. The triple and persistent challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment affect women more than they do men,’‘ she said.

She stressed the importance of education as a leveler in issues of gender discrimination and the need for women to support one another in efforts aimed at economic emancipation and in order ti benefit from the radical economic transformation.

The race as to who succeeds the embattled Zuma in elections slated for December this year is largely seen as one between Dlamini-Zuma and deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. Ramaphosa, a trade unionist turned businessman is believed to have the backing of powerful trade union groups.

Dlamini-Zuma, a medical doctor and health minister under Nelson Mandela has pledged to bridge the gap between blacks and whites, the source of widening discontent in one of Africa’s most advanced economies over two decades after apartheid rule.

Her former husband’s reign as president has been dogged by corruption scandals and biting court verdicts on his conduct. Albeit he is able to stay on as head of state till general elections in 2019, there is a call to replace him as leader of the party to mitigate the political damage that the scandals have caused.

The ANC has been split on the issue of Zuma’s leadership with internal calls for him to step down. A recent cabinet reshuffle negatively affected the country’s ratings with a recession – the first in eight years – worsening matters.

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