In a surprising turn of events, veteran South African politician and anti-apartheid campaigner, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, has officially announced her retirement from the South African Parliament. Dr. Dlamini-Zuma, a prominent figure in the African National Congress (ANC) and a minister in the founding cabinet of President Nelson Mandela, revealed her decision in a letter addressed to Kgalema Motlanthe, the Chairperson of the ANC’s Electoral Committee.
The announcement comes as Dr. Zuma declined an opportunity to return to the legislature after the upcoming general elections. Having served as a long-standing minister and an ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) member, she was notably the first woman Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission. Additionally, she made history as the first Chairperson of the Commission from the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
In her letter to Motlanthe, Dr. Dlamini Zuma expressed her gratitude for the nomination to the ANC’s 2024 National list. She thanked the ANC leadership at various levels for the opportunity to serve the country and its people since 1994. The letter also acknowledged the support and guidance received from different ANC Presidents under whom she served as a member of the executive.
“It will not be necessary to schedule the interview for the 2024 national list because I have taken the decision to retire from being a member of the South African Parliament,” wrote Dr. Dlamini Zuma in the concluding part of her letter dated January 12, 2024.
This announcement coincides with a significant political development involving her former husband, ex-president Jacob Zuma, who declared that he will not vote for the ANC and has launched his own political party, Umkhonto weSizwe.
The retirement of Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma marks the conclusion of a remarkable political career that spanned decades and included pivotal roles in both South African and continental politics. The ANC, in response to her decision, is expected to reflect on the implications of losing a seasoned political figure as the country prepares for the upcoming general elections.