Women put it out there for Zuma

Meokgo Matuba said the league was not reacting to students' #FeesMustFall protests. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

Meokgo Matuba said the league was not reacting to students' #FeesMustFall protests. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

The ANC Women’s League was to embark on a march to the Union Buildings on Friday October 30 to voice its support for President Jacob Zuma. Though the women’s league listed several things they wanted to march for or against, the action was widely seen as a reaction to the student march on the Union Buildings a week earlier. League secretary general Meokgo Matuba talked about the march.

Why is there a need to defend President Jacob Zuma and what are you defending him from?
The face of the ANC is its president.
The march is not about the president, but there are issues that are being raised as being about the president which are in effect attacking the organisation. We will defend any leader of the ANC.

Then what is the objective of embarking on this march if not to defend Zuma?
As part of celebrating the longest serving president, OR Tambo, we felt there is a need to also defend our revolution as women. We know the ANC is under attack and there is a need to defend the gains of the national democratic revolution. We noted there are still challenges that we want to highlight to the leadership of the ANC in government, such as gender inequality, unemployment, gender-based violence and the need to fast- track the ANC’s policy of free education. The ANC government must address the issue of registration fees for our poor students because it is an impediment to their education. Until we realise the implementation of free education for all, we must for now make it possible for our poor children to get quality education.

Why aren’t you taking your grievances to Luthuli House if the main aim of your march is to defend the organisation and its president?
We are part of ANC resolutions due to our participation in the ANC national executive committee, conferences and the national general council. Our issue is that these resolutions must be implemented by our organisation’s deployees in the ANC-led government. Our [task] is to conscientise and remind them of the need to implement these resolutions.

At your national congress it was evident that the women’s league is not in good financial health. How are you going to fund this march?
We are all volunteers and we believe in volunteering our services to the ANC. Those who are able to assist us in the organisation will do that. We also contribute as individual members to make sure the organisation is financially stable, though there are some who are in a position to contribute better than others.

Is the women’s league perhaps reacting to the #FeesMustFall student protests that seem to have questioned President Zuma’s leadership?
We are not reacting to the students’ protests. We are mothers and parents, we pay the fees so we supported the #FeesMustFall protests because we know what it aims to achieve and [we] agree with that. This march is part of our national programme that we decided on at our national executive committee meeting in September. We said while we celebrate the life of OR Tambo [whose birthday month is October] we will have this march. It’s a long-planned thing, hence we have mobilised in all the nine provinces.

Mmanaledi Mataboge

Mmanaledi Mataboge

Mmanaledi Mataboge is the Mail & Guardian's political editor. Raised in a rural village, she later studied journalism in a township where she fell in love with the medium of radio. This former radio presenter and producer previously worked as a senior politics reporter for the Mail & Guardian, and writes on politics, government, and anything that gives the disadvantaged, poor, and the oppressed a voice. Read more from Mmanaledi Mataboge

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