The ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) has ordered that ANC Women’s League president Bathabile Dlamini be reinstated to the league’s task team.
The women in the NEC are said to have fought tooth and nail to have Dlamini brought back after she was pulled out by officials.
According to two NEC members, they did this after Dlamini’s name was added to the task team list by the national working committee (NWC).
Officials argued on Monday night that Dlamini, who was found guilty of perjury in March, had to appear before the governing party’s integrity committee before a decision could be made about her place on the task team.
Her allies said they believed the move was an attempt by those aligned to President Cyril Ramaphosa to seize control of the league.
The NEC is alleged to have overturned a decision by officials to have the task team’s terms of reference broadened to ensure it ran for a year before taking the structure to the party’s national conference in December.
In June, the NEC adopted a recommendation by the NWC that former speaker of parliament Baleka Mbete lead the task team through the position of convenor.
Ramaphosa’s adviser, Maropene Ntuli, would be the coordinator, along with another Ramaphosa ally, Free State league leader MaQueen Letsoha.
Ntuli, seconded by ANC Youth League convenor Nonceba Mhlauli at the NWC meeting on Monday, was previously part of the young lions’ NEC led by Julius Malema. She has also served in the African Union. Letsoha is the former Free State women’s league provincial secretary.
The women’s league was disbanded in April after the ANC accepted a recommendation made by Thandi Modise. Modise was appointed by the NEC to head a panel to evaluate the status of the league ahead of its conference, expected to take place later this year.
This came after Dlamini was found guilty of lying under oath during an inquiry about her role in the 2018 South African Social Security Agency grant payments debacle. She was minister of social development at the time.
In an extended NWC meeting in April, Dlamini fought for the position of task team convenor, but this was rejected, with Ramaphosa’s allies arguing she would use the task team to ensure she emerged as the league’s president for another term.
Dlamini, whose influence in the league remains strong, has said she was willing to return for another term.
An insider said Dlamini and her allies had argued that the women’s league task team’s term should be restricted to nine months, as stipulated in the party’s constitution.
A second insider said another argument against extending the task team’s term was that North West had been allowed to run with a task team for years, with no clear indication of when it would elect leaders.
“The last thing we need is another Free State or North West. We can’t have a league run by an interim structure for years.”
A source alleged the move by the officials was an attempt to hobble the structure to ensure it had no muscle when the party held its national conference in December.