Durban - The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has come under fire for allegedly using a government-funded Women’s Day celebration to openly campaign for presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Irate members of the IFP and DA walked out of the event.
The celebration, which was attended by various political parties, took place in Vryheid’s Emondlo
township, northern KwaZulu-Natal, on Wednesday.
Opposition parties said the rules that were agreed on by all parties were that no one would be allowed to wear party political regalia to the event that had been organised by the office of remier Willies Mchunu and the KwaZulu-Natal legislature.
It was followed by a Women’s Parliament on Thursday.
However, people who had attended the celebration said it turned out to be a pro-Dlamini-Zuma rally, with 10 buses from eThekwini Municipality transporting people dressed in ANC colours.
Among leaders who attended were Mchunu, ANC KwaZulu-Natal chairperson and ANC provincial chairperson Sihle Zikalala, IFP national chairperson Blessed Gwala and DA MP Ann Macdonald.
“It clearly did not look and sound like a government event. Women’s league members arrived carrying an electronic banner of Dlamini-Zuma,” said a source. “Also, ANC speakers such as Zikalala were addressing people about Dlamini-Zuma.” In a video footage shot in preparation for the event, ANC Women’s League KwaZulu-Natal secretary Nonhlanhla Gabela said its party members would wear their party blouses because “we are allowed to dress in party colours”.
She said the league, ANC Youth League and “progressive alliance partners” would go to Mondlo carrying Dlamini-Zuma’s banner to demonstrate that in December’s ANC conference, Dlamini
Zuma would be elected as ANC president. “She struggled for freedom.
"She joined the ANC voluntarily without being pushed. She joined the ANC not because she was in a relationship with a certain member of the ANC. She joined of her own free will – for the struggle,” she said.
Gwala said IFP members became irritated and walked out of the event.
He said the rally had been publicised as a government function, but had “turned into an ANC event when ANC Women’s League and other ANC members who were transported in buses and combis, flooded the venue in their full ANC regalia.”
“The rally was used to campaign for Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. This is very unbecoming for a leader of the Premier’s stature,” said Gwala.
IFP Women’s Brigade chairperson Thokozile Gumede said: “What annoyed us more was that ANC women decided to ambush us.
“If they were honest from the start and told us that ANC members would come in their party colours, we would have ensured that IFP members came in their party colours as well,” she
DA KwaZulu-Natal MPL Ann Macdonald said the DA members also joined all opposition parties in leaving the event.
ANCWL provincial spokeswoman Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu justified political regalia, arguing that this had to be seen as a symbol of the 1956 women’s march. She said women from other political
parties were also free to wear their party colours.
“When Zikalala talked to women, mama Nkosazana is also a woman. Surely you cannot decide which women he should or should not talk about.
“How do they (leaders) talk to women and not talk about women leaders. Whether we like it or not mama Nkosazana is a leader and she is a woman,” said Simelane-Zulu.