The son of the former president has amped up his public profile after being seen at ANC events and campuses of higher education institutions.
Durban – Duduzane Zuma, the son of former president Jacob Zuma, returned to South Africa last week and immediately ramped up public appearances at ANC events and campuses of higher education institutions as a possible attempt at gauging whether he could garner enough support for a possible tilt at the ANC Youth League presidency.
He has to date remained rather coy on the extent of his political ambitions.
During a wide ranging interview with Newzroom Africa said there was a possibility his face could be on the ballot come the 2024 national and provincial general elections.
On the ANC
Zuma, who said he was an ANC branch member in Newlands East, Durban, said although he was a businessman he was taking a political attitude into how things were being done.
“I am an ANC member, I was born in the ANC, there’s certain issues of a particular nature that we need to deal with.
“I think there’s a gap in youth leadership, there’s a gap in business, gatekeeping that exists,” Zuma said.
He said he was not intending on running for the ANC Youth League presidency although he did believe that there was a lot of confusion that’s been put forward by the leadership that exists in the ANC.
“There’s no clear direction that’s been given, we’re living in a country where there’s a lot of confusion whether we like it or not.
“People are failing to step up, in government and the private sector and general politics.
“This is a reference to the current administration,” Duduzane Zuma said.
Creating a stir in public
On 24 October Duduzane made an unexpected, yet hugely celebrated, stop at a popular hangout spot in one of Durban’s biggest and buzzing townships.
Weekend revellers at Wiseman Carwash in KwaMashu’s G section were treated to an unexpected guest appearance by Zuma junior who was flanked by a bevy of bodyguards with whom he was travelling in a convoy of about five luxury vehicles.
Zuma, clad in one of his numerous trademark Fred Perry golfer T-shirts, was again the toast of the town in KwaMashu.
Clearly on the charm offensive, Zuma opted to freely mingle with patrons of the popular joint, taking selfies and chatting, instead of heading for the more opulent setting of the VIP area where A listers normally sit.
This ease with engaging with the public appeared to be straight out of his father’s book of leadership as the former head of state has always had a reputation as an ordinary man of the people.
Wooing the masses
In March this year, Zuma made a whistle stop tour of several of the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s campuses in both Pietermaritzburg and Durban.
He initially engaged with students in the provincial capital before his convoy of Range Rovers, Mercedes Benz and BMW luxury SUVs, which oddly enough did not have licence plates, headed off to UKZN’s Howard College, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine and Westville campuses.
There he listened to numerous grievances that hoards of students took turn to lay bare to him while also lobbied for private sector businesses to take more responsibility in funding the public higher education sector in South Africa.
Zuma junior’s increasingly public life was gaining momentum earlier this year, before the country was placed in an initial 21 day hard lockdown in late March as the government prepared to face the Covid-19 pandemic onslaught.
He had made various other public appearances including at the ANC’s official 108th birthday celebrations in Kimberley in January before a show stopping appearance in the KwaZulu-Natal leg of the ruling party’s 108th birthday celebration rally in the KZN South Coast town of Port Shepstone later that month.
Although he had not always made clear his intentions of running for political office, in a recent interview on SABC 3’s Trending SA show he threw a hint of sorts when saying that he thought everyone should have some involvement in politics.
“I mean, we all have opinions and we all have views that have been shaped by our experiences and our environments so we all wanna make a difference.
“For me having an interest in politics, that is most certainly a yes.
“At whichever level, that is for people to decide,” Zuma said.
“Where I can make a difference, where I believe I can have a big impact, I certainly will, and if it is something people are willing to give me an opportunity to do, I will deliver,” he said.