Former cabinet minister and African Union head Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was here, there and everywhere last week.
The ANC presidential hopeful addressed adoring crowds carefully selected by the ANC Women’s League in the North West and elsewhere as she ramped up her campaign.
In a cheap, cynical publicity stunt, she swept into Marikana, scene of the murder of mineworkers by police in 2012, to try and lay wreaths at the site.
Mineworkers prevented her from doing so, asking a pertinent question: Where has she and her organisation been in the past five years of no justice or recompense for the workers’ families?
Why has she not raised her voice against the ANC government’s failure to act decisively on key issues of poverty and justice in the area?
Dlamini-Zuma visited the North West as Stats SA released a report measuring poverty trends in South Africa between 2006 and 2015. It made for chilling reading: in 2015 a quarter of the population, 13.8 million people, were living in extreme poverty and below the food poverty line of R17.48 per person a day.
More than half the population, about 30.4 million people, were found to be living below the upper-bound poverty line, which is made up of people who can buy adequate levels of food and non-food items but are still considered poor.
This is the sort of poverty Dlamini-Zuma would have seen in areas like Marikana. What are her plans to turn things around if she gets elected ANC president? What is she putting on the table?
Her plan is straight from the Jacob Zuma script – radical economic transformation will solve all our problems.
Throughout her campaign last week, this was the message she emphasised, without any clear outline of what this means in specific policy terms. She warned last week that if this nebulous concept is not implemented “peace cannot be guaranteed”.
In KwaZulu-Natal at the weekend, she reportedly said “blacks and whites must be happy about radical economic transformation because it will bring investors and create job opportunities for the youth”.
How, dare I ask? She proceeded on the same script (passed along from Bell Pottinger to the Gupta family to the Jacob Zuma faction of the ANC), saying that “white monopoly capital” had to be dismantled to allow the marginalised to play a…