ANCWL President Bathabile Dlamini. File photo: David Ritchie/Independent Media
ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) president Bathabile Dlamini on Saturday took a swipe at the men in the governing party, saying they were afraid of bringing in youth because they fear losing their positions.

The former social development minister was speaking at the launch of the ANC’s exhibition of almost a dozen June 16 activists, including the only woman - Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund chief executive Sibongile Mkhabela - at Constitutional Hill in Joburg ahead of Youth Day.

“They are looking after their positions, so when they look at young women they think that they are going to lose their positions,” Dlamini said.

In contrast, she said, the ANCWL was not afraid of bringing young women into the organisation because others are afraid.

“We are not just sitting, we are rising to the occasion and we are still going to rise to the occasion,” Dlamini said.

She said there was a trend to blame women for sexism.

“Those people find it easy to defend men who do wrong things but find it correct to always touch and speak about wrong things done by women and also things that are done in the name of the organisation,” Dlamini said, adding that it was important to understand that most ANC-aligned organisations were led by men.

According to Dlamini, most of the time women fought very hard to defend things that were done by men. She said it was what men want to see women doing on a daily basis.

Dlamini also cautioned young South Africans to fight for the country or face a bleak future.

“If young people do not fight hard towards changing this country, they will have a very sad future.

“This is not the time to sit down and say we have everything, this is the time to continuously demand what we demanded from the formation of the ANC,” she said.

She said she hoped the exhibition would be taken to all provinces and be given prominence for young people to understand what Hector Pieterson died for.

On June 16, 1976, Pieterson, 13, was among scores of unarmed pupils killed for resisting being taught in Afrikaans. Dlamini was axed from President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Cabinet last month and resigned as an ANC MP this week.

She was appointed minister in the presidency responsible for women in February last year by Ramaphosa after his predecessor Jacob Zuma was recalled by the ANC.

ANC Johannesburg regional chairperson Geoff Makhubu praised the ANCWL’s young women’s desk, which he described for stepping into the void left by the chaos in the ANC Youth League.

“The absence of the ANCYL has really been mitigated by the presence of the young women’s desk,” he said.

Sunday Independent