Johannesburg - The Northern Cape ANC Women's League on Friday congratulated the party's only female provincial premier Sylvia Lucas.

“We welcome the ANC national executive committee (NEC) decision on entrusting Lucas with this immense duty of serving the people of the Northern Cape,” said the league's deputy secretary Gail Parker.

“The league prides itself on one of its members being the only female premier in the eight provinces led by the ANC.”

Opposition Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille is the premier of the Western Cape.

The ANCWL was confident that Lucas would continue to take the province forward, Parker said.

The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) on Wednesday said the appointment of only one female premier by the governing party was alarming.

“(This) seems to be a clear step backwards in the fight for gender equality and 50/50 balance in political representation between men and women in this year's elections,” the commission said in a statement.

African National Congress deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte on Tuesday said the ANC was disappointed in the lack of female premiers, but denied this was because there was a lack of leadership among women.

To counter the problem the ANC's NEC decided to ensure that in ANC-led provinces with a male premier a woman was elected speaker and that 60 percent of the provincial executive committee were women.

Sapa