ANC Womens' League President Bathabile Dlamini addresses the media about the loss of their ANC Presidential candidate, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.
Image: Masi Losi

The ANC Women’s League says it is disappointed by the lack of significant female representation in the ANC top six leadership‚ describing it as a regression for the emancipation of women.

The party announced its new leadership on Monday‚ invoking an emotive response from the league‚ which had thrown its weight behind Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma‚ whom it hoped would make history by becoming the first woman to lead the 105-year old party.

The league’s president‚ Bathabile Dlamini‚ said late ANC leader Oliver Tambo was “turning in his grave”‚ as he had championed the equal representation of women in ANC leadership structures.

She was briefing journalists at the national conference on Tuesday when she lashed out at what she said was patriarchal bias that saw men who were on Dlamini-Zuma’s slate rise to power as she lost to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“This is an attack on women struggles. We have been dealt a blow and want to call on all women to stand together‚” said Bathabile.

In an about-turn‚ she also criticised the non-appointment of Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu‚ who had stood for the position of deputy president‚ although the league had not supported her bid when she first launched her campaign.

Instead‚ the league backed the inclusion of the new deputy president of the ANC‚ David Mabuza‚ on Dlamini-Zuma’s slate.

They also claimed that the only reason deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte emerged successful was because she had stood against another woman‚ Cosatu Second Deputy President‚ Zingiswa Losi.

“We want to say Comrade Jessie was able to make it because she stood with another woman‚ if she was standing with a male‚ she would have gone under the bus and we would have an all male top six‚” she said.

The league said it would fight the issue within the ANC‚ explaining that the party needed to make a decision on how women would be affirmed.

Dlamini also remarked that having Dlamini-Zuma as a presidential nominee on the ballot paper was monumental in itself.