ANC women want more than 50%

Wathinta umfazi: ANC Women’s League secretary general Meokgo Matuba says the league will push hard to get women into positions of power. (Delwyn Verasamy)

Wathinta umfazi: ANC Women’s League secretary general Meokgo Matuba says the league will push hard to get women into positions of power. (Delwyn Verasamy)

As the ANC begins preparations for its national lists nominations process the party’s women’s league says it will lobby for the appointment of five women as premiers and a woman as the deputy president of the country.

Women’s league secretary general Meokgo Matuba said the league was not happy with the current state of representation in premier positions. Of the eight provinces run by the ANC, only one woman, Sylvia Lucas of the Northern Cape, was elected as premier after the 2014 general elections.

This year the Free State and Mpumalanga appointed women premiers after former premiers Ace Magashule and David Mabuza’s election to the ANC’s national executive. But the positions are on an temporary basis until new premiers are appointed after the 2019 general elections.

Matuba said the women’s league would push to ensure that only four of the nine provinces had men as their premier candidates.

“We would appreciate it if we have more than 50% by having five women premiers and then four men comrades.
This is what we are advocating for. We know that women, when given responsibilities, will be able to deliver and make an impact,” Matuba said.

“We are not happy. And if the representation [after the 2019 elections] is below 50% we will not be happy. But we appreciate that the ANC leadership has heard us by replacing men with women premiers in provinces like Free State and Mpumalanga, but we still want more,” she said.

Despite the party’s gender representation policy that requires all deployment lists to have 50% of candidates as women, the women’s league said it would go to branches to lobby for representation that exceeds that quota.

At the ANC’s 2017 national elective conference the women’s league tried to get Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma elected as the party’s first woman president.

READ MORE: ANC Women’s League believes men used Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

The league was accused of only endorsing Dlamini-Zuma to push a factional agenda and for failing to support other women in the leadership race, such as parliamentary speaker Baleka Mbete, who was also running for the position of president, and International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, who was going for the deputy president position.

But the league is determined to get President Cyril Ramaphosa to consider appointing a woman as deputy president after next year’s elections.

The M&G reported last week that lobbying was taking place to have either Mbete or Sisulu take up the number two spot on the ANC’s national list and be appointed as deputy president of the country.

Mabuza would then be left to execute his duties only as deputy president of the ANC.

Matuba said that, although the final decision of who would be appointed as deputy president could only be made by Ramaphosa, the league would make its position clear once those negotiations were opened.

“We are saying women do have capacity and capabilities of leading the country, so that matter will be discussed within the structures of the organisation.

Matuba said the league would have to fight resistance from some men in the ANC who were still determined to hold women back from occupying senior positions.

“They have [an] inferiority complex sometimes. They will not agree sometimes to have women in certain positions. But we played our part and we did our best going to Nasrec.”

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