The ANC will decide on its new party president at the 2017 National Conference in December, and a question that’s been circulating for quite some time is whether or not one of their longstanding female members will be considered for the job.
In an interview earlier this year, President Zuma stated that he thinks that our country and the ANC is ready for a female president: ‘We said it a long time ago, that all ANC members are equal and can stand for any positions in the organisation. Women have always played a critical role in the ANC. Now if a woman leader is competent enough, and ANC members think she is capable of taking a leadership position, there is nothing that can stop her.’
Zuma also mentioned that he would not consider re-election, even if he was nominated by ANC.
So, who are the women who have put themselves forward to contend for the position to lead the ANC?
Through her role as African Union Chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has gained signficant political exposure throughout Africa and the world. Anti-apartheid activist Dlamini-Zuma has also lead two major ministries in SA, as the Minister of Health (a role she served in under Nelson Mandela’s administration) and Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Dlamini-Zuma carries the current endorsement of the ANC Youth League and the ANC Women’s League. She has, however, been implicated in some scandals, including the 2010 FIFA controversy.
The current Speaker of the National Assembly is a longstanding member of the ANC and has worked for the party in several African countries, including Tanzania, Kenya, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia. Mbete has also served as the secretary general of the ANC Women’s League. She was also an anti-apartheid activist during its existence.
Mbete officially declared her intention to run for party president earlier this week when she stated that she was ready to lead the ANC: ‘I have served in the ANC for just over 40 years and occupied various roles in the process, my latest being as the party’s first female national chairperson. And I have had the honour of serving as such two terms.’
But Mbete’s record isn’t entirely sparkling clean, having been found to have obtained her driver’s licence ‘improperly’ and having been implicated in a bribery case in 2010 (though Parliament’s Ethics Committee cleared her of any wrongdoing).
The current minister of Human Settlements and former anti-apartheid activist has also put herself forward for the big role as party leader.
Sisulu has extensive experience in the arena of security: she has previously held the position of Intelligence Minister and served as Defence and Military Veterans’ Minister. She’s also worked as the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs under Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki’s governments.
In addition, Sisulu has held the position of chairperson of the Social Transformation Commission, where she was instrumental in the push for radical socio-economic transformation as opposed to radical economic transformation.
Sisulu was implicated in a 2006 scandal related to Travelgate and abuse of parliamentary travel vouchers.
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