ANC Women's League President, Bathabile Dlamini addresses the media about the loss of their ANC Presidential candidate Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. Picture: MASI LOSI
ANC Women's League President, Bathabile Dlamini addresses the media about the loss of their ANC Presidential candidate Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. Picture: MASI LOSI

The ANC Women’s League says the governing party has failed women and is presiding over the regression of the emancipation of women.

The party announced its new leadership on Monday, invoking an emotive response from the league, which had thrown its weight behind Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to make history in becoming the first woman to lead the 105-year-old ANC.

The league’s president, Bathabile Dlamini, said late ANC leader Oliver Tambo was “turning in his grave”, as he had championed the equal representation of women in ANC leadership structures.

She told journalists at the party’s national conference on Tuesday that patriarchal bias had seen men who were on Dlamini-Zuma’s slate rise to power as she lost to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“This is an attack on women’s struggles. We have been dealt a blow and want to call on all women to stand together,” she said.

In an about-turn, Dlamini also criticised the nonappointment of Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, who had stood for the position of deputy president, although the league had not supported her bid when she first launched her campaign.

Instead, the league backed the inclusion of the new deputy president of the ANC, David Mabuza of Mpumalanga, on Dlamini-Zuma’s slate.

The league also claimed the only reason deputy secretary-general Jesse Duarte emerged successful was because she had stood against another woman, Cosatu second deputy president Zingiswa Losi.

“We want to say Comrade Jesse was able to make it because she stood with another woman. If she was standing with a male, she would have gone under the bus and we would have an all-male top six,” Dlamini said.

The league said it would fight the issue within the ANC, explaining that the party needed to make a decision on how women would be affirmed.

Meanwhile, ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa’s first address to the media was largely boycotted by the media after Bloomberg journalist Sam Mkokeli was manhandled by security staff and had his accreditation revoked.

Mkokeli was kicked out of the ANC’s national conference after he voiced concern about the way journalists were being treated. After meetings between the South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) and the ANC, and between the ANC and the security staff involved in the incident, it was decided to return Mkokeli’s accreditation.

Mkokeli said media people had been in the sun for 45 minutes while waiting for Ramaphosa to address them.

Sanef chairwoman Mahlatse Mahlase said it had met the ANC to discuss the Mkokeli issue as well as other complaints that had come to light.

The ANC had apologised for the incident, she said.

On his first walkabout as ANC president, Ramaphosa was accompanied by new treasurer-general Paul Mashatile, one of his staunch supporters.

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