Bathabile beleaguers women

UBaba appears to be getting a taste of his own bitter medicine. When the ANC electoral team announced that Cyril Ramaphosa was the new president of the party on Monday, the “outgoing” president looked like he had just received a load of curdled cupcake icing in his mouth. Or maybe a set of artistic nude pictures of departing ANC secretary general, one Samson Gwede Mantashe.

Jacob Zuma struggled to swallow the outpouring. His lips pursed upwards as if he had just sniffed an unwashed pimp taking a shit in the communal toilet of an overcrowded awaiting-trial jail cell. Gagging on defeat’s bile must have caused his life, replete with prison bars, to flash before his eyes faster than an Emirates A-380 plane.

Having stuck sour notes in peoples’ mouths for so long, it’s no surprise that uBaba was hanging, white-knuckled, on to the table until Ace Magashule and DD Mabuza were announced, respectively, as ANC secretary general and deputy president.

Ace will probably try to marshal the new national executive committee to stop any recall of Mkhandakhanda and stymie attempts to clean up the party’s branches. Voting banks and membership manipulation made the ANC messier than the hourly rooms at a Midrand brothel.

Ace is supposed to be mopping this up, but is more likely to add to the litter mound with used condoms and unused copies of Through the Eye of the Needle.


After all, the courts have twice found that his election as Free State ANC chairperson was illegal because branches were being manipulated like an elastic band.

The NDZ lobbyists were sweating it out just before the election results were announced. I had wandered over to the KwaZulu-Natal section of the conference hall to pick up a blessing when the ghostly features of provincial chairperson Sihle Zikalala and provincial secretary Super Zuma “left me cold”.

uBaba’s tokoloshe was scratching his bald pate, on the verge of tears, staring incomprehensibly at a piece of paper where he may, or may not, have been scratching off the names of former friends. Super looked like a mere mortal without any of the powers that allowed him, for a moment, to erase former ANC treasurer general Zweli Mkhize’s party membership and grow the ANC membership as magically as Jack’s beanstalk.

It’s been a tough time for women at this conference. From being chatted up by leery stick insects with the tenderpreneur strain of kwashiorkor — all red meat, single-malt whisky and no-exercise diets — to comrade Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma losing out to Ramaphosa. We are not winning.

Apparently there is this thing called “patriarchy” that is holding us back.

I googled what it means in between plenary sessions today, expecting to see a photograph of Comrade President of the ANC Women’s League and Queen Regent of the Nyaope-induced News Conference Bathabile Dlamini.

Apparently it actually means that the men have been back-alley buggering us from even before uBaba’s tenure as president, for free no less.

I was expecting Ramaphosa to bow out of the race for the ANC presidency after Dlamini had reportedly intimated she would “call people who are prepared to speak about [Ramaphosa’s] history” as an alleged abuser of women to speak up. Bua, sathane! Surprisingly, there were no smallanyana skeletons popping out of the closet to scare the bejeezus out of Cupcake before he was elected.

But I have been confused by the women’s league’s approach to this election. Why did we wait for uBaba and DD to tell us to support Dlamini-Zuma before deciding that we should? Why did we support Dlamini-Zuma for the presidency, but not Lindiwe Sisulu for the deputy presidency?

Poor Sis Sisulu had looked all lonesome on the dais where the national executive committee sit. This was even before the results confirmed that she was, indeed, alone.

If the women’s league had supported her, she would be in line to become the party’s first woman president.

I didn’t get any answers from Comrade President Head Girl of the Women’s League Bathabile Dlamini and Lumka “Mr T” Oliphant when we caucused or during their news conference the morning after the night before.

In between ranting how the election result — five out of the top six are men — was a defeat for women, she refused to answer a question about whether she had voted for DD or Sisulu.

“The issue”, it would appear, was the “unfair question being asked”: “That is a nonissue,” said Dlamini. “The issue is to push us in a corner, the issue is to crush us … No, we are not going to allow that. That is an unfair question.”

It’s answers like these that leave me with questions about feminism, patriarchy and how the fuck did we end up with an idiot like Dlamini to lead our movement?

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

Mbalula’s war with military vets belies the Prasa disaster

The transport minister uses humour, which his targets don’t find funny, to survive in tough times or to divert attention from a problem.

Sitting targets and lame ducks

Everybody’s staying pozi, which is making all the arrests easy for the Hawks. Only Ace is desperate to be seen

Fix economy: Cut, build, tax

Expert panel presents a range of solutions to the economic crisis that include cost cutting, infrastructure spending and a solidarity levy

ANC’s rogue deployees revealed

Despite 6 300 ANC cadres working in government, the party’s integrity committee has done little to deal with its accused members

Watch it again: Ramaphosa details economic recovery plan

According to the Presidency, the plan aims to expedite, in a sustainable manner, the recovery of South Africa’s economy

Why crooks are shivering in their boots

Ace Magashule’s anxiety has to do with the array of arrests of high-profile people facing fraud and corruption charges
Advertising

Subscribers only

SAA bailout raises more questions

As the government continues to grapple with the troubles facing the airline, it would do well to keep on eye on the impending Denel implosion

ANC’s rogue deployees revealed

Despite 6 300 ANC cadres working in government, the party’s integrity committee has done little to deal with its accused members

More top stories

Finance probe into the Ingonyama Trust Board goes ahead

The threat of legal action from ITB chairperson Jerome Ngwenya fails to halt forensic audit ordered by the land reform minister

Ailing Far East Rand hospital purchases ‘vanity’ furniture

Dr Zacharia Mathaba, who purchased the furniture, is a suspected overtime fraudster and was appointed as Gauteng hospital chief executive despite facing serious disciplinary charges

Eusebius McKaiser: Reject the dichotomy of political horrors

Senekal shows us that we must make a stand against the loud voice of the populist EFF and racist rightwingers

Seals abort pups in mass die-off

There are a number of factors — a pollutant, virus or bacteria or malnutrition — may have caused the 12 000 deaths on Namibia’s coast
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday