JOHANNESBURG, February 13 (ANA) - The African National Congress Women’s League (ANCWL) says the "vicious character assassination campaign unleashed" against its member and Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane is driven by "hatred towards black women". Mokonyane, who is member of the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC), has come under fire from opposition parties and other detractors for among other things allegedly running down her department. The Economic Freedom Fighters last week wrote to Mokonyane asking her if she had given tenders to a person with whom she allegedly has a close relationship with and allowing the same individual to have influence in her department. Mokonyane has dismissed the allegations as false. Media reports at the weekend suggested that the water and sanitation department had run out of money and would not be able to settle its debts - something the department has vehemently denied. In a statement issued late on Sunday the ANCWL said it noted with great dismay the character assassination and media reports directed at Mokonyane. "The smear campaign tactics of the monopoly capital and patriarchist using the neo-liberal media to attack Cde Nomvula is a calculated move to discredit black women in the mass democratic movement and society at large," said the ANCWL. "The vicious character assassination campaign unleashed by these fanatics of patriarchy and racism is driven by hatred towards black women who have earned their stripes to lead in various sectors of society." The ANCWL said the smear campaign can not "erase the fact that cde Nomvula has served the people of Gauteng Province with distinction" in various capacities. Mokonyane served as Member of the Executive Committee (MEC) of Agriculture, Conservation and Environment, MEC for Safety and Liaison and Housing MEC. She is the only black woman to have led the Gauteng Province as a Premier. "The attackers of this dedicated cadre of our movement who serves as a member of the ANC NWC [National Working Committee] are trying all the tricks to subvert the liberation credentials of our cadre through uninformed and distorted narrative," said the ANCWL. "The peddlers of the malicious, discrediting, unfactual and biased discourse are masters and stooges of the narrow capitalist interest that seeks to promote black inferiority and white superiority as an accepted social practice." - African News Agency (ANA)