Mike Mabuyakhulu, centre, is congratulated by other members of the ANC after being elected to the top 5 of the ANC PEC in KwaZulu-Natal. Picture: Sibonelo Ngcobo/African News Agency/ANA
Over the weekend, the ANC held elective conferences in two key provinces, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. One thing that stood out for me was the lack of representation of women in the party’s provincial leadership election. 

In hindsight, this is a repeat of the results of the 54th national election conference at Nasrec in December, where the ANC elected its top six.

I thought the picture would be a little different in the provincial leadership elections, so that I could at least start believing that this anti-female leadership pattern was a mistake or non-deliberate.

However, I am aware that the governing party is one of the main streams feeding into this river of patriarchy in our society.

It is a reflection of our society in general. On the podiums, everybody will talk the right talk about women occupying leadership positions.

We preach the right sermons about equality and representation of women but when it comes to acting, the sense of urgency fades. We fail dismally to walk the talk.

In the truest literal sense, men continue to rule this world.

It cannot be something we keep quiet about any more. We are not living in the dark ages when brute strength ruled, allowing men to dominate society.

We can’t keep on perpetuating patriarchy in this day and age.

Men can’t keep believing they’re entitled to leadership and treating women as secondary citizens.

We all know what we have to do. We are all aware of the discrepancies in society. There is no debate about how wrong this is.

If this were a matter of national importance and urgency, we would have already done something about.

Evidently, the days of affirmative action in South Africa are over.

Affirmative action emphasised the equal representation of everyone in the workplace.

In a few days, we will all be making a noise about the advancement of women and talking a lot of policy hogwash that sounds great on paper. However, little is done in reality to advance women and their participation in leadership, be it political, business or even in the family.

I am also tempted to delve into the participation of women in protecting patriarchy.

How many women are chief executives in South Africa? Again, the society constraints hinder our progress as a nation. Men continue to dominate in chief executive roles in JSE-listed companies, according to a study by PwC on trends of executive pay - which said gender imbalance was still evident on the stock market.

“In South Africa, JSE-listed companies have a long way to go in achieving the target for female chief executive. There is only one female chief executive in the Top 40 JSE listed companies,” said the report, referring to Absa chief executive Maria Ramos.

I am not saying that we should fill posts and positions with women because we want to reach a quota. I am talking about a willingness to allow women to participate on an equal footing.

When we are on podiums men, and some women, hit the right notes about the participation of women.

We don’t treat the issue of patriarchy as an urgent matter. Our actions can also be defined as silent misogynistic behaviour.

What disappoints most about the ANC is it is one of the most important and influential stakeholders in our society but continues to fail to celebrate the qualities, leadership capabilities and abilities of the women it is ranks. The party should be setting benchmark.

How regressive - Mama Winnie is turning in her grave.

* Kabelo Chabalala is the founder and chairperson of the Young Men Movement (YMM). Email, [email protected]; Twitter, @KabeloJay; Facebook, Kabelo Chabalala