South African President Jacob Zuma has publicly endorsed his former wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to replace him as the next African National Congress (ANC) leader.

Dr Dlamini-Zuma and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa have emerged as frontrunners to replace President Zuma at the end of the year.

The South African leader appeared to give his backing to the former African Union (AU) Commission chairperson, when speaking at a church service on Sunday in Bulwer, in the eastern KwaZulu-Natal Province.

“She is bold and you can’t fool her. She is someone you can trust,” he said.

He added that Dr Dlamini-Zuma had a transformative impact on the AU.

“She is very respected in Africa and it would be surprising why she would not be respected in South Africa,” President Zuma said.

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