Durban — KwaZulu-Natal Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube’s denial of her alleged embarrassment by provincial ANC chairperson Siboniso Duma during the Springbok Rugby World Cup trophy tour in KZN last week has angered the ANC Women’s League which accused her of selling out women’s struggle against patriarchy.
In the incident, captured on video and circulated on social media, Duma who is also Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC, was seen lifting the trophy with Springbok Eben Etzebeth and the premier was left clapping/waving her hands.
The incident was widely condemned by the public and political parties who accused Duma of overshadowing the premier at public events. In the video clip, the programme director is heard announcing that the premier will have a photo taken with the cup, but in the clip Dube-Ncube is seen looking around seemingly for the trophy while Etzebeth and Duma lift it up.
This prompted the ANCWL to issue a statement written by deputy secretary-general Dina Pule condemning Duma’s behaviour. The league said it was deeply concerned by the ongoing, regrettable actions of Duma which have repeatedly undermined the authority and leadership of the KZN premier, calling it “blatant sexism and undermining of the woman premier”.
But on Tuesday, the ANC in KZN sprang to Duma’s defence dismissing the league’s statement. A statement the party said was issued by the premier denied that she was overshadowed by Duma.
The ANC said Dube-Ncube allowed Duma to lift the trophy; it was a collective decision; at no stage did Duma impose himself.
The party added what it said was Dube-Ncube’s own statement: “Nobhala and officials, let’s not allow these detractors to play cheap politics at dividing the ANC and the public. We laughed with comrade Mthombeni (Duma’s clan name) that he will match Elizabeth (sic) because of his height.”
The ANC added: “In view of this correspondence from Comrade DubeNcube, we believe it is extremely sad that the ANCWL has decided to be the loud hailers of the chorus peddled by forces opposed to the ANC.
“Under normal circumstances, we would have expected the ANCWL to engage the ANC provincial leadership using internal processes instead of this reckless posture that is divisive and factional. The less said about the author of the statement, cde Pule, the better.”
This angered ANCWL secretary-general Nokuthula Nqaba, who hit back at Dube-Ncube and the ANC KZN leadership. She said the ANCWL was disappointed by the premier’s statement. The league stood by its decision, she said.
Nqaba said before issuing its statement the ANCWL had first consulted the premier, who told the league she felt undermined by Duma’s action.
Nqaba said the premier’s statement went against the fight against the patriarchal system. The league said Duma’s action went against gender equality – one of the ANC’s fundamental policies.
The league was angered by the ANC KZN’s personal attack on Pule, she said, and was expecting an apology from the KZN ANC. Instead, it defended Duma’s action. It was not the first time Duma had done this to the premier, she said.
On Wednesday ANC KZN spokesperson Mafika Mndebele said the party stood by its statement. Cultural expert Dr Gugu Mazibuko, of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, did not believe the premier’s denial had anything to do with patriarchy; it was a “political statement”.
When Dube-Ncube was appointed, many political parties expressed reservations that she would be able to perform to her best ability since she had no political power, she said.
Dube-Ncube’s office had not responded by deadline.
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