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The ANC Women’s League has reaffirmed its stance that South Africa is not ready to have a female president.
It said it was committed to respecting the ANC leadership traditions and processes – which “have a long, long life”.
Ironically, the ANCWL said it remained the only organisation in the country and on the continent that recognised that women were capable of being leaders.
“We know the ANC, we understand the ANC, we understand the ANC processes, and no one wants to go into a futile battle. There are traditions, there are processes, and those processes have a long, long life,” Angie Motshekga, the league’s president, said on Monday.
She was addressing journalists at the ANC’s headquarters in Joburg on the outcomes of the league’s national elections workshop at the weekend.
The ANCWL’s position on the prospect of women ascending to the party presidency first emerged in October last year when its provincial secretary in Mpumalanga, Clara Ndlovu, said it was “not prepared to have a female president” ruling the country.
“We want to have a female president in the near future. We are just not prepared for it now. We do not have capable leaders,” Ndlovu was quoted as having said.
Her statements sparked a political uproar, with gender rights groups berating her and the league for undermining women.
Following that, the league complained of gross misrepresentation of Ndlovu’s statements by the media. However, the league later released a statement endorsing her assertions.
Almost a year later, on Monday the ANCWL appeared to come full cycle in its stance.
Motshekga said the league would be “fighting a losing battle” if it tried to push for a female president now.
“You don’t just wake up and make a pronouncement to say I am going to be a deputy president. It’s a process. It’s got its own life and is not a fly-by-night. We will do it in a respectful… and not in an opportunistic way,” Motshekga said.
She said the presidential position was cast in stone at the Mangaung elective conference last year.
“Decisions of the ANC conferences are crucial (in) determining the next five years…The horse has bolted. The battle was lost in the run-up to Mangaung.”
The league’s secretary-general, Sisisi Tolashe, added: “The ANC is a liberation movement and we have our own processes. We start somewhere… I think we are almost there now.”
The league confirmed that its elective conference, initially scheduled for July, had been postponed until after the elections.
Motshekga said the league was pleased with President Jacob Zuma remaining the face of the ANC in the elections as it was a tradition of the party for its president to play that role.
The ANCWL berated the DA for engaging in “mud politics”, after the party admitted to erecting e-toll billboards next to gantries on some Gauteng highways.