​ANC Women’s League believes men used Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

“The ANC indeed has regressed on the issue of women," ANCWL head Bathabile Dlamini told the media. (Madelene Cronjé/M&G)

“The ANC indeed has regressed on the issue of women," ANCWL head Bathabile Dlamini told the media. (Madelene Cronjé/M&G)

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was used by the men in the ANC to fulfil their own leadership ambitions, said the ANC Women’s League on Tuesday.

Yesterday the party announced the election of Cyril Ramaphosa as its president. Though Dlamini-Zuma was snubbed, three of the candidates who had appeared on her slate made it to the top six.

These include Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza as deputy president, Free State premier Ace Magashule as secretary general and Jessie Duarte as deputy secretary general.

The women’s league did not hide its disappointment during a press briefing delivered on Tuesday afternoon at Nasrec, Johannesburg.

“Men did not lift the candidate up, they used her as a ladder, that one we are not shy to say. They used her as ladder for themselves. It’s our demonstration to you, to say this is how patriarchy has reared its ugly head in our society,” said women’s league spokesperson Toko Xasa.

Shortly after the announcement of Ramaphosa as the ANC’s new president, a disturbed Dlamini-Zuma marched out of the plenary hall, flanked by small business minister Lindiwe Zulu who attempted to calm her.

Dlamini and her NEC had been accused of imposing the African Union commission chairperson on women’s league members. Despite championing the need for more women representation in the national executive, the league was also questioned for its failure to support other women candidates such as Lindiwe Sisulu and Baleka Mbete.

But Dlamini defended the decision saying women were “not homogenous”.

“An unfair question is coming out … why didn’t we support comrade Lindiwe. We don’t want to talk about the fact that all this time in the ANC we have had women freely standing for the position of president, so that is a non-issue, the issue is to try to push us into a corner and crush us,” Dlamini said.

Dlamini expressed her disappointment over what she said was the ANC’s regression on issues of gender parity.

“The ANC indeed has regressed on the issue of women. As we celebrate the life of OR Tambo who championed the emancipation of women, we can’t be proud of this outcome,” she said.

The women’s league said it would go back and reflect on what had gone wrong in its strategy to deliver the ANC its first woman president and convene a general congress according to its planned calendar.

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