You don’t need a college degree or certification to lead a country aright.
“The IFP was dying and Zuma represented many of us Zulu-speaking rural people‚” said Simelane.
These are the word of Sibongile Simelane‚ 49‚ from Lubisi in uPhongolo‚ a former IFP supporter who‚ until a decade ago‚ swore by Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
In about 2008 the northern KwaZulu-Natal resident switched allegiances and supported the ANC. And all because of President Jacob Zuma.
She does not have a membership card for the ruling party‚ but says she is a supporter and perennial ANC voter. However‚ what drew Simelane into the ANC was Zuma’s meteoric rise as an uneducated man‚ something that mirrored that of her own late father‚ who was born in Swaziland.
Simelane’s father‚ without an education‚ once managed a successful trucking business hauling sugarcane to a sugar mill plant in eShowe‚ also in northern KZN. It is these sweet memories that resonated with her decision to adore Zuma.
“I support Zuma with all his troubles. He can outsmart those who went to school. I know they say he is a thief‚ that he is corrupt and loves bad Indian people. But he is our leader and we love him with his weaknesses‚” said Simelane.
For her Zuma is the complete embodiment of Zulu nationalism‚ something she said was inculcated during her IFP days.
Simelane was speaking in the wake of a by-election in the uPhongolo municipality — a vote the ANC won despite strong competition from the IFP. The party retained the ward it won in the 2016 municipal elections‚ albeit with a decreased margin of 42.19%‚ compared to the 55.62% in the previous election.
“I know Zuma is leaving soon‚ but if another chance came I would vote for him again‚” she said.
Simelane gets much of her news dosage from SABC’s Ukhozi FM as well as isiZulu newspapers. She’s not into any social media platform and carries an old Nokia cellphone.
Asked who she preferred between presidential hopefuls Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa‚ Simelane said she did not like any of them. However‚ surprisingly‚ if she was forced to choose‚ she would vote for Ramaphosa.
“I am not saying women are bad leaders‚ but the position of the president requires strong men like Zuma. The Prince (Buthelezi) and Ramaphosa can lead‚” said Simelane.
Simelane said the reason she remained an ANC voter and not a member was that many people in the ANC were dishonest.
“I wish this will be discussed at the ANC’s [national policy] conference. They all want to lead and they all want to be corrupt and they kill each other‚” she said.