Dlamini-Zuma turns from Addis Ababa to South Africa
Dlamini-Zuma is a strong favourite to win the leadership of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) at the party’s 2017 conference largely because she is backed by her former husband, President Jacob Zuma.
Dlamini-Zuma’s core support is with the ANC women’s league, who have also expressed their loyalty to the president.
Zuma’s allies control key ANC machinery including the national working committee and national executive committee. But President Zuma is fighting for his political life and the impact of multiple scandals on his ability to shape future events is unclear.
Zuma weathered a series of storms over the last few weeks that included rising anger over ANC corruption and his ties with the wealthy Gupta family.
He was also censured by the highest court in the land over his failure to pay back money spent on lavish additions to his private Nkandla residence and survived a second attempt by the opposition to impeach him.
Dlamini-Zuma will have to fight off the political ambitions of deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, who is believed to have the backing of the business community, but lacks a large constituency within the ANC.
Ramaphosa has been identified with a section of the ANC that is less amenable to Zuma following repeated allegations of graft.
How any successor deals with his multiplicity of cases is of great interest to the president.