Home News Baleka Mbete: Women’s League to be mum on preferred ANC leaders

Baleka Mbete: Women’s League to be mum on preferred ANC leaders

Baleka Mbete: Women’s League to be mum on preferred ANC leaders

CRACKS have emerged in the ANC Women’s League national task team (NTT) after its convenor Baleka Mbete declared that the structure would not make any pronouncements on its preferred candidates for the ANC top six.

The erstwhile ANC national chairperson’s statement is in stark contrast with the NTT's co-ordinator and President Cyril Ramaphosa's special advisor on international relations Maropene Ramokgopa’s announcement of her boss as the ANCWL’s preferred candidate for ANC president at the governing party’s national conference next month.

In an interview last week, Ramokgopa announced the NTT’s preferred candidates for ANC as Ramaphosa to retain his position, Defence and Military Veterans Minister Thandi Modise as his deputy president, Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe to remain national chairperson, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula to be secretary-general, ANC general manager Febe Potgieter as his deputy and co-ordinator in the secretary-general’s office Dr Gwen Ramokgopa as treasurer-general.

The ANCWL NTT was criticised for not nominating any of the two woman candidates who have put their hands up to take on Ramaphosa – Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and her tourism counterpart Lindiwe Sisulu. Mbete, formerly National Assembly speaker and the country’s deputy president, has urged the NTT members to commit not to do anything that has the potential to divide ANCWL members because the unity of the women is sacrosanct.

“In this, we repeat, we will not abuse our individual and collective mandate from the ANC for wrong reasons that are opposite to what we stand for. In this regard, we collectively take the preferred position of not making pronouncements on individual names,” she explained.

According to Mbete, the choices of NTT members will remain private to them as individuals.

“Away from NTT spaces, and activities, where we interact with those who agree with us, we will be free to express ourselves. Never in the name of the NTT. We are after all not an elected body,” she added.

Mbete continued: “Always remember makhosikazi (women), we will never de-campaign any woman in our capacities as leaders of the women’s league and as the NTT! We always strive for the unity of women which is our priority in its own right, as much as it is essential for a strong ANCWL that has to contribute to a stronger ANC”.

She, however, acknowledged the right of individual women to freely make choices for themselves as cadres of the ANC and to make choices of leaders based on their personal preferences.

“As we are committed to the protection of our collective responsibility. Never to divide our women and therefore, we will never de-campaign any women even when they’re not our personally preferred candidate,” maintained Mbete.

Her comments are in stark contrast with Ramokgopa’s, who has publicly indicated that she believes that a second term for Ramaphosa is what the ANC needs right now and that there is a lot that the governing party has been able to do for society under him.

On the Phala Phala farm-gate scandal that is threatening to derail Ramaphosa’s political career, Ramokgopa said nothing makes the ANCWL doubt Ramaphosa’s capacity and integrity.

“There is nothing that says to us that Ramaphosa is guilty, we will wait for the processes of the ANC and government law enforcement structures because we do have confidence in them to do what they are supposed to do and we will be able then to take a decision once those processes have been exhausted and a decision has been made,” she explained.

Ramokgopa said the ANCWL also believed in the principle that upholds justice to take place.

In addition, she said the ANCWL NTT wanted to ensure 50% gender parity in the top six hence their decision to nominate three women.

”We do believe as the ANCWL that our decision and our focus was more on making sure that gender parity is exercised and has been achieved in the top six of the ANC, which is the structure that we do believe generates decisions of the ANC,” said Ramokgopa.

Sunday Independent

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