One of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s central campaign lobbyists, Carl Niehaus, has claimed that the ANC presidential candidate will not protect President Jacob Zuma from the facing consequences of the series of allegations that have been levelled against him if she wins at the party’s elective conference.
Niehaus spoke to the Mail & Guardian on Monday morning at the Nasrec centre, as voting continued for the ANC’s top six.
“I don’t think she will protect anyone who may have allegations of corruption. I think she will simply want to proceed [with] the process of investigation going ahead and she wants to see that the courts must do their work, so I don’t see any protection for anyone under comrade Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma,” he said.
Dlamini-Zuma detractors have been firm in saying that if she is elected to the top leadership position in the party, she will be instrumental in helping Zuma avoiding jail time or any significant consequences from allegations of state capture and corruption.
But Niehaus, who has been embroiled in fraud allegations himself, has claimed that she will lead fairly.
In February 2009, Niehaus resigned from his position as ANC spokesperson after it emerged that he had not declared all his financial dealings. The M&G reported at the time that he owed large sums of money to politicians and businessmen.
But recently, he has attempted to reinvent himself as ANC military veterans spokesperson and as a key member of NDZ’s campaign team.
Military veterans reportedly voted for the ANC’s top six on Sunday night. Niehaus said he remained confident of NDZ’s chances despite her having around 400 branch nominations less than Cyril Ramaphosa. He said that the emphasis must be on the delegate count.
“Our delegate count all the time has been [one that] stands an exceptionally good chance to win,” he said.
The announcement of the ANC’s newly elected top officials is set to take place today once all 4776 votes have been counted. While there has been some concern, in the wake of court battles prior to the start of the conferences, that there would be court case lodged to challenge the outcome of the conference by either the NDZ or CR17, Niehaus said that his camp would avoid going to the courts.
“I think we must accept the outcomes of this conference and process as far as I can, and we’ve got obviously our own monitors also. It is a process that is being conducted properly. I think it will be very sad if we go and try and undo what the democratic process is through going to the courts, and I really hope that the members of all the supporters of the various candidates will avoid doing that,” he said.
One of the key policy considerations of the NDZ slate, he said, will be radical economic transformation, which he said has not been implemented since it became ANC policy in 2009. Claiming that NDZ is among the “best implementers in Cabinet”, Niehaus said she would be able to prove wrong those who criticise her.
“I’m hopeful that when she wins she will be able to show also the doubters about her ability to lead,” he said.