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Cape Town - A heated debate in the provincial legislature over the undermining of women in the Western Cape turned into a catfight over President Jacob Zuma’s attitude towards women and the wardrobe and fashion sense of ANC national chairwoman Baleka Mbete.
Premier Helen Zille said it was extraordinary that in an area where the ANC had failed so profoundly, members would come to the provincial legislature and accuse the DA government of failing women.
“The ANC is an organisation that in its 100 years of existence has never had a woman leader. And it has a leader who disparages women at every turn.”
Referring to other instances, she highlighted the spat between Zuma’s international relations adviser Lindiwe Zulu, and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who had praised Zuma for silencing his envoy.
“Instead of protecting her from the insults of Robert Mugabe and seriously sexist insults - calling her a streetwoman, among other things - while she’s there representing our interests, and very well too.
“And Zuma’s a man who admits to having had unprotected sex with the daughters of his friends on more than one occasion. What kind of role model is that for protecting the dignity of women and children?”
Referring to reports on Mbete’s connections with Goldfields, Zille said: “The ANC does have a woman chairperson, Mr Speaker, and let’s see what kind of a role model she is. She is certainly one of the best dressers in politics. She certainly is a role model for her wardrobe. I’ve never seen her in the same outfit twice. And she certainly is a role model on how to abuse your position to enrich yourself - commonly known as bribery - that’s what the lawyers in New York found,” Zille said.
ANC MPL Lynne Brown, who introduced the debate on women’s position in the province, said the Western Cape required a ruling party whose leader was not deaf to the cries of the poorest and the most vulnerable.
Brown said the DA had turned a serious topic into a discussion of individuals.
“This is a very serious debate about the most vulnerable amongst us, our children and women. And they turn this whole agenda into whether somebody has shares or not.”
Referring to the ANC Women’s League’s march to the legislature last month, Brown said the women came as peers in government, mothers, sisters, and daughters to say to the Western Cape that the premier was wrong.
“The women came to Zille’s office to say she is wrong to only appoint men as MECs…They came to say it is wrong to disregard national guidelines and legislation...”