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Women fall short (again) in race for top six ANC positions

Women fall short (again) in race for top six ANC positions
For the position of party president, Cooperative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma was unable to garner enough support.(Photo: Waldo Swiegers / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Just like in 2017, women are largely absent from nominations for the party’s top six. However, they could still cause an upset from the floor at the leadership conference.

The ANC top six nomination list shows an alarming trend which has started to plague the governing party – the exclusion of women from key positions. 

Of the seven provinces that have held conferences, only Gauteng has more women than men in its executive. The late Jessie Duarte was the only woman elected to the top six at the 2017 national conference. 

In the party’s history a woman has never occupied the position of secretary-general.

Read in Daily Maverick: “Zweli Mkhize clinches enough nominations to contest Cyril Ramaphosa for top ANC position

This time, only the ANC’s head of organising, Nomvula Mokonyane, and its general manager, Febe Potgieter, have managed to reach the threshold for the deputy secretary-general position. For the position of party president, neither Cooperative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma nor Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu have been able to garner enough support. Dlamini Zuma received 81 nominations – the majority from Gauteng – while Sisulu was able to get 66 endorsements. 

For the deputy president position, the head of the ANC’s economic transformation subcommittee, Mmamoloko Kubayi, was the only woman who was even close to reaching the threshold, with 241 nominations. 

The late Jessie Duarte was the only woman elected to the top six at the 2017 national conference. (Photo: Waldo Swiegers / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

There were no women who expressed an intention to contest for the job of ANC chairperson, and even those put forward by branches did not do well. 

The ANC’s coordinator in the secretary-general’s office, Gwen Ramokgopa, received the fourth-highest number of votes for the secretary-general position, but it was not enough to make it onto the ballot. And, again, for the position of treasurer-general, not a single woman reached the threshold, including Vuyiswa Tulelo, who was among the few women touted for the position.

Read in Daily Maverick: “ANC general manager Fébé Potgieter remains coy on secretary-general nominations

When it comes to the top six, the ANC has no definite rule on gender parity, although 50% of the 80 additional members who are voted in are expected to be women. 

“At least 50% of branch nominees must be women. The branch nominees must all achieve the 50% plus one threshold of votes and must be captured in the order of most votes to least votes. If a booklet has less than half women’s names for additional members, the Electoral Committee will only accept the same number of male names, starting from those with the most votes,” according to the committee’s rules. 


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Speaking to the media after the announcement on Tuesday, committee chairperson Kgalema Motlanthe said women would be included when the party votes for additional members.

Complying with the ANC’s constitution

“The names that have been successfully nominated and audited and as the Electoral Committee asked each one of them whether they accept the nomination or not and they have all confirmed as such, that they accept the nomination. And as you know, the rules allow for the vetting process…

“What the constitution of the ANC says is that the 86 or so members of the NEC should include women making up 50% of that composition. So, in terms of compliance with the ANC constitution, we think we should be able to do that when we look at the additional nominees.”

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ANC Electoral Committee chairperson Kgalema Motlanthe. (Photo: Gallo Images / City Press / Leon Sadiki)

However, all is not lost for these candidates since they could still be nominated from the floor at the party’s conference. If they are able to consolidate and shift support, they could cause an upset for the front-runners.

“Conference delegates may nominate additional candidates from the floor and anyone who gets the support of 25% of delegates will be added to the ballot. No more than two nominees may be successfully nominated from the floor by delegates from each province or league,” the rules state. DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Beyond Fedup says:

    Who cares??? Why window-dress and the reality is that the Woman’s League is a joke after the pathetic, hypocritical, inept and idiotic leadership over the last two decades. Just remember characters like Bathabile Dlamini etc😳. With such the poor calibre ie zero attributes, capacity, competence and value of NDZ and Lindiwe Sisulu, SA can be grateful that these two buffoons haven’t made it. The bar is exceptionally low anyway and the fact that they haven’t made it speaks volumes. However, one never knows what the vacuous and rabid mob will conjure up at the conference. Unfortunately, anything goes in SA these days.

  • Richard Baker says:

    Whether male or female or other, surely the key criteria should be competence (real life knowledge, qualifications and experience), integrity, energy and love of country. Others matter not a jot if those are not fulfilled.
    Tragically for SA there are certainly none in the ANC of any ilk-hence the mess the nation finds itself in.

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