JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South African politician Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said on Thursday it was fine if the country’s white business community declined to endorse her bid to succeed President Jacob Zuma as leader of the African National Congress (ANC).
Her priority was to transfer wealth from the white minority to the black majority, who are generally much poorer. Those who opposed the policy were mainly white people or members of the black elite who want to preserve the status quo, she said.
“If we have to choose between our people having a better life and investment, that’s not a choice,” she said, when asked about whether her policies could scare away businesses.
“I‘m not afraid. I‘m not afraid of them. But I‘m not surprised white minority capital is not endorsing me,” she said on ANN7 television in a rare interview.
ANC delegates will vote for a new party president next month, with Dlamini-Zuma expected to face Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, a unionist-turned-millionaire businessman who is more popular with foreign investors.
“From where I sit, it’s looking good. The campaign is going well,” said Dlamini-Zuma, who was married to the president.
The winner of the party vote will be favourite to become the next president of South Africa, either at an election in 2019, or before if Zuma stands down or is forced out by the new ANC leadership next year.
Apartheid in South Africa ended in 1994 but much of the country’s wealth resides with the white minority. Successive ANC governments have said they want to empower the majority, though many black people have seen only modest economic gains.
Dlamini-Zuma, who has held several cabinet posts and was most recently chair of the African Union, has pledged to tackle poverty and close the gaping racial inequality gap.
Some investors are concerned about Dlamini-Zuma’s proposed plan of “radical economic transformation”, which critics have said is a populist term that isn’t backed up by solid policies.