Bathabile Dlamini, president of the ANC Women's League, speaking on the sidelines of the ANC 54th national conference about the League's support for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and other female candidates for the party's top structure positions. PHOTO: Siphelele Dludla/ANA
Johannesburg -  ANC Women’s League president Bathabile Dlamini has expressed her pride at the three women contesting the ANC presidential race despite two of them are now aligned to deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, the slate she is opposed to. 

Addressing the media at Nasrec Expo Centre on the side of the ANC national conference, Dlamini commended ANC national chairperson Baleka Mbete and NEC member Lindiwe Sisulu for contesting the all important race, against former AU Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

Mbete announced her support for Ramaphosa on Saturday night while Sisulu had accepted her deputy president nomination under his leadership.   

Dlamini is lobbying for Dlamini Zuma to replace President Jacob Zuma as the ANC president. 

“We are proud of the fact that there are three women that have been nominated to stand for the position of the president. 

“We are happy that if we look at both sides there is comrade Nkosazana as the president, and there is comrade Lindiwe as the deputy president. That says that the structures of the ANC now accept the leadership of women in key leadership positions,” said Dlamini.

She said she was foresaw South Africa moving away from patriarchy where men dominate judiciary, political parties and faith-based organisations.

“Currently everything favours men, and we as women have to grow up in that feminist situation.

“This also gives us opportunity as the women’s league to go and go and define what we means about having women president, and sharpening our ideas,” he said.

Dlamini said Dlamini Zuma was not afraid of losing to Ramaphosa “because we all know that once you stand for a position you must be ready to accept defeat. 

“And also you must subject yourself to the elected leadership, and the elected leadership must embrace you,” she said. 

She said she did not harbour strong feelings against Ramaphosa, adding that Dlamini Zuma’s camp was ready to embrace Ramaphosa if he wins.

As Zuma vacates his ANC position, Dlamini Zuma said she would miss him for his openness, acceptance of everyone and refusal to get cross with people who didn't want to see him in office any more.

“He is an ordinary man who has at all times, even during difficult times has tried to remain calm. His has a sense of humour and is able to accept the views of other people, even laughing at the people who do not want to see his face.

“He also has a full understanding of rural issues, working class issues and Marxism and Leninism,” she said.

Political analyst Somadoda Fikeni said bargaining had always been expected between presidential candidates, which this time resulted in Mbete and Sisulu shifting to Ramaphosa. He said Mbete had been influenced by the court cases, which had led to some PECs and branches, who are believed to be supporting Dlamini Zuma, not participating in the conference as voters. 

“You will expect that other presidential candidates such as Zweli Mkhize, Jeff Radebe, Mathew Phosa will throw in their lot (behind Ramaphosa),” he said.

Fikeni said Sisulu and Mbete had entered the presidential race in protest against Zuma’s decision to endorse his former wife without having looked carefully at other women capable for the position.

“It (the decision) was just done behind the scenes, and it came as if it was discussed somewhere. So they might as well out of protest be saying we are equally capable as senior leaders of being candidates. 

“That is why they are turning to Cyril,” said Madoda.

Political Bureau