Durban – It was an indictment that since the ANC was formed 105 years ago it had not been led by a woman, said ANC Women’s League president Bathabile Dlamini in Durban on Monday.
Dlamini, who is also the Minister of Social Development, was speaking at the 2017 Land Colloquium event held at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
She took to the stage soon after former African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma had finished her presentation, which was focused on land use in Africa.
“Having an organisation that was formed by (John Langalibalele) Dube, which is 105 years old, never having a woman president is an indictment,” said Dlamini.
The Women’s League had recently pronounced Dlamini-Zuma its preferred candidate to lead the ANC when President Jacob Zuma relinquishes the position at the national conference in December.
Its public endorsement of Dlamini-Zuma, which followed that of the ANC Youth League and uMkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans’ Association, led to the ANC’s national executive committee putting a lid on the succession debate.
Dlamini said having a female president would advance the country as it would mean “we are ready to face the issues of gender equality”.
She said addressing gender issues would mean that South Africa had developed and matured.
Dlamini heaped praise on Dlamini-Zuma, saying after listening to her presentation she realised that “the rights of women are safe in her hands”.
Dlamini’s support for Dlamini-Zuma comes after Xhosa King Mpendulo Zwelonke Sigcawu said the country was not ready for a woman president.
When asked to respond to the king’s statement, Dlamini said “You want to put me into trouble. I don’t respond to those things,” before she turned away.
Dlamini-Zuma told the land right activists who attended the event that African countries were letting themselves down by failing to process raw materials they produced.
She said African countries, with the exception of Egypt, were known only for exporting raw materials and later buying end products at inflated prices.
“Lots of African countries grow cotton, but the world knows Egyptian cotton because Egypt adds value to its cotton and sells the finished product. So it is known that this comes from Egyptian cotton, and they think Egyptian cotton is very good."
“But if Egypt was selling raw cotton, nobody would be talking about Egyptian cotton,” said Dlamini-Zuma.
“Those who add value are the ones that are known: Dutch cloths, Swiss and and Egyptian cotton."
“But those who sell it raw, nobody cares and nobody knows them. The revenue they get from it is very little,” she added.