ANC Women's League president Bathabile Dlamini. File photo: African News Agency (ANA).

A political analyst says the decision by the ANC women’s league president, Bathabile Dlamini, to show support for under fire Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, while some within the ruling party want her gone, is a sign that the ANC is deeply divided. 

Durban-based independent analyst, Thabani Khumalo, says it's a farce that the party was ever united, adding that there are two main factions that have people helping their cause. 

He said most of Mkhwebane’s decisions have helped one of the factions, which includes Dlamini, hence the latter's decision to show up in Mpumalanga on Friday to attend a prayer service organised for the Public Protector. 

“If [President Cyril] Ramaphosa was actively responding to the ongoing fight back campaign we would be seeing fire versus fire. There is no unity here and people must not be deceived,” Khumalo said.

He said Dlamini’s support further underlined the divisions within the ruling party as it came days the National Assembly changed rules to enable it to remove the sitting Public Protector unhindered. 

As a result of that, the ANC which enjoys majority powers in the assembly, will remove her.

“I think she (Dlamini) is trying to regain lost ground. Mkhwebane is perceived to be serving their faction which is rooted in the previous era. So, any injury to Mkhwebane indirectly affects them. Under the current circumstances, Bathabile has got no choice but to go back to her roots and regroup as she does not have any platform. I think her position will be highly contested in the next elective conference of the women’s league,” Khumalo said. 

While Dlamini who told Mkhwebane that even the chief justice was on her side, supports Mkhwebane, two of her party comrades, Ramaphosa and Pravin Gordhan are locked in bitter court battles with the person she is supporting. 

These battles are expected to be used to topple Mkhwebane.

Political Bureau