The ANC Women’s League is not happy with the ruling party’s new top six. That was made clear at a press briefing at Nasrec on Tuesday, where the Women’s League executive told media that the ANC has failed women by electing only one female member into its top leadership. President Bathabile Dlamini blamed the loss of Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma on prevailing patriarchal attitudes within the party, and hinted that new ANC deputy president DD Mabuza had won his position by riding on Dlamini Zuma’s coat tails. By REBECCA DAVIS.
“We cannot be proud of this outcome,” ANC Women’s League president Bathabile Dlamini told journalists on Tuesday. She was responding to Monday’s election of the ANC’s top six: a group which includes just one woman – deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte – despite it being ANC policy that there should be gender parity in its structures at all levels.
Dlamini made it clear that the Women’s League feels betrayed by the men of the ANC. She suggested that the only way that Duarte was able to win her position was because she was competing against another woman – little-known Cosatu official Zingiswa Losi – for the role of deputy secretary general.
“If (Duarte) was standing (against) a man she would have gone under the bus, and we would be sitting with an all-male top six,” Dlamini charged.
“Comrade OR Tambo must be turning in his grave, and there is no doubt about that.”
Dlamini said that some of the men who succeeded in their campaigns did so by using “the face of a woman” – an apparent reference to new deputy president DD Mabuza, who was part of Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma’s slate. It appears that the league blames Mabuza’s behind-the-scenes horsetrading for costing Dlamini Zuma the election to some extent.
Women’s League spokesperson Toko Xasa subsequently elaborated that such men, whom she did not name, “did not pull the candidate up”, but “used (her) as a ladder”.
Said Xasa: “This is how patriarchy is really rearing its ugly head.”
The Women’s League executive came in for a grilling from journalists who wanted to know why – if their commitment was truly to women in leadership – the league had not also thrown its support behind Lindiwe Sisulu’s attempt to become deputy president, rather than solely focusing on Dlamini Zuma.
Dlamini was incoherent on this point, calling it an “unfair question”. She suggested that the media should instead be acknowledging the fact that for the first time in the ANC’s history, multiple women “freely” stood for election into top leadership.
The Women’s League leaders brushed off suggestions that they should partly blame themselves for Dlamini Zuma’s failed campaign, saying that they had no intention of resigning.
Asked if Bathabile Dlamini would pledge her allegiance to the new ANC president notwithstanding her anger about the election result, Dlamini obliged without great enthusiasm.
“Yes, I’m going to support Comrade Cyril as president of the ANC,” she said. DM
Photo: “Patriarchy has once again reared its ugly head,” ANC Women’s League president Bathabile Dlamini told journalists at a briefing on Tuesday December 19, 2017, after the election of the Top 6. Photo: Leila Dougan