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Johannesburg - The African National Congress Women's League has slated the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) for its silence on the SABC's "patriarchy and cheerleaders of male chauvinism".

The ANCWL had noted "with disgust that the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) TV News has degenerated into being a proponent of patriarchy and cheerleaders of male chauvinism", league secretary general Meokgo Matuba said in a statement on Saturday. 

It was evident that SABC TV news had been "co-opted by the advocates of patriarchy and cheerleaders of male chauvinism to run a malicious and barbaric agenda that is aimed at stripping off the dignity and identity" of ANC MP Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, she said.

Dlamini-Zuma is one of several candidates vying to take over the ANC presidency from her former husband President Jacob Zuma at the party's elective conference in December. She has the backing of the ANCWL national leadership.  

Matuba said SABC TV news had lately been labelling Dlamini-Zuma as "Mini-Zuma" and "Zuma ex-wife". Dlamini-Zuma was a medical doctor, had served as the first female chairperson of the African Union, was a former home affairs, foreign affairs, and health minister, and currently an MP in the National Assembly. 

"The SABC TV News and its patriachist masters must appreciate that Cde Dr Nkosazana has been in the forefront in the struggle for liberation of the people of South Africa and she received the Order Of Luthuli Award in gold for her contribution to the liberation struggle in South Africa. No amount of malicious attacks by praise singers of patriarchy and advocates of male chauvinism will erase her struggle and academic credentials," she said.

The ANCWL was also appalled by the silence of the CGE when "a public broadcaster is intensify it's gender oppression programs and reducing Cde Dr Nkosazana as nothing but 'Mini-Zuma' and 'Zuma ex-wife'".

"The ANCWL's  expectations on CGE is that it is a body that has to promote respect for gender equality and the protection, development and attainment of gender equality. The deafening silence of the CGE on this matter is very loud for the ANCWL to question the understanding of the functions of CGE by the CGE Commissioners and the staff," Matuba said. 

The ANCWL also demanded that that the "ministry of women be vocal and condemn this barbaric malicious agenda by SABC TV News".

"Furthermore, the ANCWL demands that the Minister of Communications in her capacity as a shareholder representative at SABC demand answers from the SABC Board on this matter. Any SABC management conniving with forces to assassinate the character of Cde Dr Nkosazana  must be exposed and be expelled from the SABC structures by the SABC Board", she said.