Pretoria - Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has expressed disappointment at a statement issued by the African National Congress Women's League accusing her of "ill-discipline" and rejected the allegations.
Motshekga said on Sunday she had served the ANCWL for years at numerous levels including as its president. She had "not organised any events under the name of the ANCWL", but regularly got invited to address forums on women’s issues during the month of August and throughout the year as a gender activist in different capacities.
“This month I have been invited to many women’s month forums within and outside of the education sector. I still have many invitations that I will be honouring. These will include forums with women professionals. I will be addressing another such forum of women on the 3rd of September 2017 at Freedom Park. I am sure the organisers won’t mind guests if they request invitations should anyone wish to attend,” she said.
In recent weeks Motshekga had also addressed school pupils, teachers, tertiary students, faith-based organisations, professional and variolus women's formations, and the invitations continued to pour in beyond the month of August.
Motsekga took "immense exception to the statement issued by the ANCWL directly to the media without even requesting facts beforehand".
“It is disappointing that an organisation to which I have dedicated a large portion of my life, because it is meant to help women rise up together, can release a petty media statement aimed at trying to bring a fellow woman cde down. Is this what the ANCWL has become under the current leadership? Where is the spirit of the great comrade Charlotte Maxeke who founded this organisation and said 'if you rise bring someone with you',” Motshekga said.
Motshekga was a leader in her own right and remained a dedicated member of the ANCWL in good standing. She was an elected member of the ANC national executive committee (NEC) and a cabinet minister of one of the most demanding government departments. She had written academic papers on women’s issues and served time in prison during apartheid, fighting for the rights and dignity of women in the country.
“My involvement in women’s struggles date far back, before the ANCWL presidency, and my commitment goes beyond that. The content of the ANCWL media statement is sadly so cheap, petty, and actually silly and regretfully this makes it difficult for one to even engage with it constructively without risk,” she said.
Motsekga rejected the accusations and encouraged the leadership of the ANCWL to "remain steadfast in their endeavours to emancipate the women of this country rather than take up the petty political battles as they seem to be focused on of late".
On Saturday, ANCWL secretary general Meokgo Matuba said the ANCWL leadership had received reports alleging that Motshekga "is organising various events around the country under the banner of the ANCWL".
"In order to maintain unity within the organisation, the democratically elected leadership of the ANCWL under president cde Bathabile Dlamini will nip in the bud any signs of ill-discipline rearing it's ugly head in the organisation (sic).
"Cde Angie must accept that a duly constituted conference of the ANCWL did not vote for her to continue in the leadership helm of the organisation. She must allow herself to be led and desist from trying to rule the ANCWL from the grave (sic).
"She has the right to canvass for her preferred ANC presidential candidate but organising events around the country under the banner of ANCWL whilst not leading in any ANCWL structure is high level of ill-discipline and a sign of not accepting to be led (sic)," Matuba said.