Bathabile Dlamini, president of the ANC Women's League, speaking on the sidelines of the ANC 54th national conference about the League's support for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and other female candidates for the party's top structure positions. Picture: Siphelele Dludla/ANA

Johannesburg - African National Congress Women's League (ANCWL) president Bathabile Dlamini remained resolute on Sunday that their preferred candidate would win the party's leadership despite the loss of votes from strongholds.

The ANCWL is supporting national executive committee (NEC) member and party MP, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, to succeed President Jacob Zuma for the position of the president after 10 years as the party elects its new leadership at its 54th national conference in Nasrec, Johannesburg.

Dlamini Zuma's campaign and her presidential aspirations were dealt a huge blow on Saturday when the ANC NEC on Saturday resolved that delegates from nullified structures in KwaZulu-Natal, North West, and the Free State could not vote. 

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Delegates from the three provinces' structures - seen as Dlamini Zuma's strongholds - would not participate in the voting process of the ANC as the courts declared them null and void following irregularities in their composition. 

The ANC's presidential position was set to be contested by seven candidates, including deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, NEC members Jeff Radebe, Zweli Mkhize, Lindiwe Sisulu, Matthews Phosa, and Baleka Mbete, who has since thrown her weight behind Ramaphosa.

Speaking on the sidelines of the conference, Dlamini said that the ANCWL was proud to have campaigned for the inclusion of women in the party's top structure. 

Bathabile Dlamini, president of the ANC Women's League, said that the ANCWL is proud to have campaigned for a female president despite SA still being a "patriarchal society". Video: Siphelele Dludla/ANA

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"Firstly, for the first time we had three women nominated for the position for the position of the president. Secondly, South Africa is a patriarchal country, starting from the nucleus of the society which is the family. Our understanding and our development on the issues of gender and power relations differ," Dlamini said.

"Therefore, we are to going to chaperone people and force them to nominate their candidates. What we are proud of is that we have moved a step further. We did not chicken out as we did in North West when Mama Winnie [Madikizela-Mandela] was nominated and we are going to go through with our candidate. We are happy also that this side there is a woman standing as president and the other side there is a woman standing as deputy president."

Dlamini said it had been a pleasure to serve with Zuma in the organisation because he was not a vindictive person but a man who understood everyday people's issues. 

"He was open and accepting of everyone, and not getting angry with the people that did not want him. But also he had a full understanding of rural issues and working class struggles," Dlamini said.

African News Agency (ANA)