Women 'ready to lead'

07 August 2015 - 02:08 By Natasha Marrian

The ANC Women's League yesterday told male party leaders who had had the "audacity" to tell the organisation whom to choose as its leaders to shut up. League president Angie Motshekga told male ANC leaders not to dictate to the league who should lead it. Doing so amounted to "abuse of office of the highest order".The leadership battle between Motshekga and Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini simmered beneath the surface at the long-awaited conference, which kicked off in Irene, near Pretoria, yesterday.It was meant to have been convened in 2013 and was delayed twice this year. The delays were due to the lack of structures in various provinces.Motshekga said a provincial chairman of the ANC had sought to tell the league whom to choose as its next leader.She said it was important to maintain healthy relations with the ANC, but the mother body had to know its boundaries."It cannot be the ANC [that] we, as women, are currently subjected to, where male leaders have the audacity to instruct us on who to choose, as recently happened in some regions and provinces."Patriarchy does not only create unequal relationships, it is also abusive and selfish. It amounts to abuse of office of the highest order and should be rejected in no uncertain terms," she said.It is understood that Free State, Mpumalanga and North West are pushing for Dlamini to replace Motshekga.The delegates revealed their preferences in songs and hand signals, prompting ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe to call on delegates to stop "dividing themselves".He earlier warned against the Women's League emerging from its conference divided at a time when the ANC was under attack."Those who are opposed to us have vowed to disrupt the president in parliament ..."Delegates gave a two-finger gesture to signal support for a second term for Motshekga or soccer's "substitution" sign to indicate support for Dlamini.In scenes reminiscent of the ANC's Mangaung conference, Motshekga's supporters scoffed at those using the substitution sign to demand change, chanting "change boom"."You are in the conference of the ANCWL," said Mantashe. "You have a right to lobby each other and elect any leader ... the only thing you don't have is a licence to divide yourselves."Elections will take place today and the results will be announced in the evening.The league was expected to debate late last night whether it would push for the next ANC president to be a woman.Motshekga in her political report to the conference said women had always been ready to lead the ANC and the country."I have always said, and I shall repeat it today, that we have been ready to lead at any level of society since time immemorial and women have always been capable to lead."Our forebears prepared us for the eventuality of leadership. We must remember that the Women's Charter preceded the now famous Freedom Charter."History is littered with examples of the impeccable abilities of women to organise, mobilise, and lead," she said...

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