The ANC Women's League (ANCWL) has strongly reiterated its view on having a female president to lead the country, possibly in the next national government elections that are expected to be held in 2024.
Speaking on Monday its president, Bathabile Dlamini, said they'd started a fight to campaign for a female candidate to become the next president. A move which the structure viewed as a "principled vision".
We are not fighting the leadership of the ANC. Real comrades understand that we are not fellow travellers in the struggle as women. We follow those who were there before us. Charlotte Maxeke and the four of the women's march. Next year we celebrate 100 years of Raheema Moosa, who was a feminist, committed to women's work, who believed in women.
Dlamini backed up her remarks by saying the ANCWL was not consulted by the President with regard to the Cabinet reshuffle which recently saw the appointment of new national executives.
The ANCWL expressed concern about women being the executives who were mostly reshuffled by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Dlamini said: "I don't know why it's so easy to shift women around. And it's difficult to fight when the former leader of the women's league that is the Speaker of Parliament [Thandi Modise] is being moved to the position of the minister of defense. And another former leader… [Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula] of the ANC women's league is pushed to another position.
"Why should it be the ANC women league's former president that is moved out of the cabinet. And those are the questions we need to ask. If you look at the whole reconfiguration issue. It's women that have been shifted around."
Dlamini stressed that many ANCWL members in Parliament could've been appointed as national executives.
"We are talking about millions of women that have the capacity to lead. Following in the steps of leaders before. We don't know whether the leadership wants their chosen few, not those that are elected by women," she added.
The ANCWL president said they called on the mother body, the ANC, to adopt some of their programmes that looked into emancipating women through the leadership ranks and into government.
She added that talking about leadership was doing away with "abusive men" who were in power and insulted women daily.
Dlamini said: "We are talking about a man that is gender-sensitive and women that have always been part of the struggle. We strongly believe in that. More particularly because there is a lot of noise. Everyone is unsettled. We feel we need a transition firstly and we need to calm down as a nation. And we believe that women are very key in ensuring that there is hope in the country."
Dlamini's concern was based around the government speaking about gender inequality and social cohesion, but not fully embracing the empowerment of women to lead in crucial leadership roles.
"We have to agree that for years we've been led by a man. And while they lead, there's a lot of manipulation and they want to say they are empowering women and pick and choose their friends. And not duly elected women.
"So it's very important for us to try and make [sic] sense to South African male leader … That they must stop this thing of picking and choosing their friends. And they must stop this thing of channelling women and forcing [them] to agree with whatever they doing".
Dlamini said the ANCWL league would continue to commemorate Women's Day under the theme, The Year of Charlotte Maxeke: the Meaning of Freedom under Covid-19. Maxeke was also known for founding the ANCWL in 1918. She said the empowerment of women would remain their top priority.
"When it comes to the empowerment of women [empowerment] programmes, we've implemented mental health programmes led by young women. Because we've seen that the aftermath of Covid-19 is going to create a lot of problems, more particularly psychological and emotional," she said.