22/08/2017 17:41 SAST | Updated 22/08/2017 17:41 SAST

Here's Why Many Don't Think Bathabile Dlamini Is Fit To Be President Of The ANC Women's League

"She is in the pocket of the men of the ANC."

Bathabile Dlamini.
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Bathabile Dlamini.

ANC Women's League president Bathabile Dlamini is not fit to hold a position defending the rights of females, according to Marike Keller, policy development and advocacy co-ordinator at Sonke Gender Justice.

"She is in the pocket of the men of the ANC and is playing into patriarchal norms herself," she told HuffPost SA.

Keller believes that unless Dlamini changes her behaviour in both the public domain and private domain, she has no place in the league.

Last week Dlamini, who is also Social Development Minister, said the league would not call for minister Mdudzi Manana's removal from government after he was caught on camera seemingly attacking a woman in a nightclub. She said Manana's assault case was being used as a "political tool" and others in the ANC had done worse.

"I don't want to be part of those games of saying ... [should] he resign or not. Even in other parties there is sexual harassment and it's not treated the way it's treated in the ANC. And I refuse that this issue be made a political tool. It's not a political tool," she reiterated.

Manana has since apologised and stepped down from his position.

Read: Government Has A Sorry History Of Protecting Abusive Men -- And Manana Is No Different

Khoza questioned why Dlamini had not taken additional steps concerning people within the ruling party who are believed to have "done worse" than the deputy minister of higher education.

"To me it is really a betrayal of women in the highest order," she said.

She said leadership is critical in such an organisation because if members spear heading the movement do not behave as role models it affects the whole organization. Keller believes that if women read or hear these comments made by the league they could end up feeling "disheartened" and "betrayed".

On Tuesday morning, rebel ANC MP Makhosi Khoza criticized the ANCWL president for "trivializing" the Mduduzi Manana case on Morning Live.

The league has also received flack for supporting President Jacob Zuma during his rape case in 2005. Zumba was charged for raping Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo commonly known as "Khwezi" and was acquitted.

Khoza said that the ANC women's league's support towards the president was a "miscarriage of justice" and "a betrayal of what women's emancipation is all about".

Last year, during an Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) briefing following the local elections, four young women interrupted Jacob Zuma's speech. As Zuma spoke, they silently protested holding placards reading "Khanga" and "Remember Khwezi".

Later Dlamini was seen on television demanding all manner of apologies from the IEC and saying the president's security had been compromised.

Kuzwayo, an HIV activist, died last year.