UDM leader Bantu Holomisa. File picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency(ANA).

JOHANNESBURG - The ANC on Wednesday lambasted United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa for referring to the party's deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte as "tea girl" in a tweet.

The governing party called UDM members to distance themselves from Holomisa's "misogynistic tendencies" ahead of Women's Day next month.

"This blatant contempt for, and belittling of women has no place in a non-sexist and democratic society which frowns upon misogyny and all its manifestations. We must isolate and reject all those who derive pleasure from abusing and undermining women. As we are about to mark women’s month tomorrow, we call on all progressive men in the UDM to distance themselves from Mr Holomisa’s misogynistic tendencies. He must be condemned by all South Africans who are committed to uprooting the demon of sexism and the oppression of women from our society," ANC said in a statement.

"Comrade Jessie is a solid cadre of our movement who has earned her stripes in the trenches. Her decades of sacrifice and contribution to the struggle for liberation and the reconstruction and development of our country cannot be reduced nor erased by a sexist label. This is a huge insult to comrade Jessie, the women of the congress movement and South African women in general."

Holomisa's tweet was a response to another user who criticised Duarte following a television interview, adding that the deputy secretary-general was just a personal assistant to the late former president Nelson Mandela.

Holomisa replied: "Thank her [Duarte] for the compliment. However, I must correct you. The PA to Madiba was ambassador Barbara Masekela. Jessie used to serve us tea at Shell House hence they call her Tea -Girl (sic). Makathi ndiyaxoka! [I dare her to say I am lying]."

The UDM president, a former a military leader in the former Transkei bantustan and ANC member of Parliament, was expelled from the governing party in 1996 for bringing it into disrepute. 

African News Agency (ANA)