19/12/2017 15:12 SAST | Updated 19/12/2017 16:51 SAST

Oh, Please -- Cry Me A River, Bathabile Dlamini

Dlamini gave a long sermon about how the election outcome is a loss for the ordinary woman... but she wouldn't say whether she voted for Lindiwe Sisulu as deputy.


Cry me a river, Bathabile Dlamini.

How can one person, or the entire political organisation that is the ANC's Women's League, now wail about gender discrimination when your presidential candidate did not make the cut, but remain silent on actual injustices facing "ordinary women".

Where was the Women's League when Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma first stood for deputy president on Thabo Mbeki's ticket in 2007? Where was the Women's League during President Jacob Zuma's rape trial? Where was the Women's League when former deputy minister Mduduzi Manana beat up three women at a Johannesburg nightclub?

As quiet as a mouse -- a dead mouse.

Now that Dlamini-Zuma came second in the presidential race, the ANC does not advocate for women. Soon after the announcement was made on Monday night, Dlamini raced into the media briefing room at the Nasrec Expo Centre, surrounded by members of the ANCWL and small business development minister, Lindiwe Zulu.

Dlamini was shaken, she was clearly panicked. She had tears in her eyes. They scrambled into the room and sat in a tight circle -- they were about to make a statement. Then someone thought differently, they rushed out and met in a closed room in the media lounge. Nobody commented to the media afterwards.

Then, on Tuesday, Dlamini called a press conference -- this time with a statement prepared.

"We note the leadership elected by the ANC through its democratic process," she said.

"As we come out of the 54th conference... We are thinking about an ordinary woman. An ordinary woman who is faced with poverty, who does not have access to water, who has a child that cannot go to a tertiary institution, who is a farm worker or a domestic worker."

The tide was turning.

"What then does this outcome mean to an ordinary girl?... We feel the ANC has failed the women of South Africa. We have to express our disappointment as members of the ANC," she said.

"The ANC must take a decision on how women are going to be affirmed. This was history in the making for women in the ANC. For the first time, we had a female on the ballot paper for a presidential candidate. The fight continues... The ANC indeed has regressed on the issue of women."

She said she was proud of deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte for making it into the top six.

"Jessie was able to make it because she stood with a woman; if she stood with a male she would have gone under the bus... OR Tambo must be turning in his grave," she said.

"It is an attack on the gains of women's struggles... We have been dealt a blow. Let us also thank Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma for selflessly availing herself. She was insulted, her credentials trampled upon, and reduced to being an ex-wife. It could not have been easy for her and her children."

But then, from the floor, journalists asked why the ANCWL did not stand with Dlamini-Zuma 10 years ago, why they thought not to support Lindiwe Sisulu or Baleka Mbete (who are women too), and whether she and the ANCWL voted for Sisulu for deputy instead of David Mabuza.

No valid response to any of the questions.

Ms Dlamini, you cannot advocate for women's rights only when it suits your political agenda.