VOICES

The Six Horsemen Of The ANC Women's League

So much for women development and empowerment.

03/07/2017 13:06 SAST | Updated 03/07/2017 13:06 SAST
Marco Longari/ AFP/ Getty Images
Africa National Congress stalwart Winnie Madikizela Mandela (R) listens to ANC Women League president Bathabile Dlamini while supporters gather in Soweto on September 26, 2016, to celebrate her 80th birthday.

The ANC Women's League has been contradicting itself for quite some time now on an array of issues that affect women in particular. As representatives of women and the rights of women, it is disheartening at best when a group that is meant to give a voice to women in issues of leadership, chooses to sit out important debates around transformation, the economy and most important of all, the role of women in leadership.

In response to an article written by Qaanitah Hunter of the Sunday Times, the ANCWL issued a statement about having six men as part of the league's delegation at the 5th ANC national policy conference, which began on Friday.

"The ANCWL has staff and partners across all genders who are gender activists in their own right and their inputs in shaping policies and programs that contribute in building a united, non-sexist society are warmly welcomed and appreciated."

The minister allegedly said during the interview that:

"Sometimes we lose debates because we become emotional, so now we want experts to argue."

If this statement is anything to go by, the minister is blatantly saying that women are not able to reason logically when it comes to issues of policy and the state, because women's emotions get in the way of sound computation and furthermore that women cannot separate emotion from public debate or discourse.

Dlamini and her women's league are indecisive in what their movement is about and what they represent. At the last ANC national policy conference, the women's league released a statement saying they are ready for the conference and in that statement they said:

"The WL is committed to deal decisively with patriarchy wherever it threatens to raise its ugly head across all the discussion documents."

And yet now, a mere five years later, they are backtracking on that very statement by showing themselves up as patriarchal princesses and giving men the proxy to go ahead and mansplain whilst they sit in on the sessions and allow the men to take the lead on issues which will affect the women in South Africa. So much for women development and empowerment.

Of the six men whom the ANCWL has appointed to "assist" them during the next few days is Tokologo Phetla.

Bettering the lives of women, as is the mandate of the women's league, means including women in key conversations regarding the way to charter our country forward. More than that, in order for women to play a pivotal role in the economy of the country, they should be given a voice and made visible.

With the way in which the ANCWL is handling this particular moment, it is clear that transformation within the ANC is nothing more than just a talking point.

Dlamini should take her office seriously and should also take the many women in South Africa whom she is meant to be representing seriously too.