ANC General Secretary Fikile Mbalula addressed delegates of the ANC Women’s League during their election conference on Saturday. file image.
- The African National Congress Women’s League hosts its national conference on Saturday.
- The ANC’s general secretary, Fikile Mbalula, delivered an inaugural address after hours of delay marking the start of the ANC conference.
- Mbalula warned the League not to be consumed by male directives but instead to carve out their own political identity.
ANC General Secretary Fikile Mbalula on Saturday told delegates of the ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) that they should stop relying excessively on men’s guidance but instead make their own decisions and not be consumed by male factions.
Mbalula delivered an opening address at the ANCWL Conference being held at the Nasseric Expo in Johannesburg.
It is expected that the conference will elect a new leadership for the league after dissolving the previous one in 2022.
Mbalula said the women of the ANC are now ready to take the lead, and their priorities should focus on women’s advocacy.
He said many in the league relied too heavily on political guidance from men and said the goal of the league was to have its own voice.
Not only popular in the ANC but championed for women. When women in business fall short, where are you? Don’t fight for men to lead the ANC. You are fighting today because of men, even at this conference. You are fighting. You must decide who leads you; You listen to men. You do not agree and consult with me or the ANC. This is why men are not respected.
He referred to the disputes that affected the vice professors in some of the state’s universities.
He said leaders such as University of Cape Town Vice-Chancellor Pauling Linka Bhola and former University of Cape Town Vice-Chancellor Mamoukgithi Phakeng needed protection from what he saw as political attacks based on race and gender.
LenkaBula and Phakeng faced questions about their leadership and effectiveness in their positions.
“When we talk about women, the ANC is leading the fight against gender equality; nobody does. When a woman is elected to the position of Vice-Chancellor, you have to be the first to stand up for her. Why do you sit when women are being attacked? A woman in the UCT is being vandalized, Mamukgeti, and where are you?”
Mbalula said ANCWL had to adapt and be strong in the modern era where women’s struggle against unemployment and gender-based violence continued to be challenged. He said that women should be at the forefront of leading these struggles.
The ANC leader said the ANC congress comes as the party faces intense criticism over its governance, especially ahead of the 2024 national elections.
Mbalula said the political attacks alleging that the ANC did not improve people’s lives after 1994 were untrue.
“We have an election to deal with. If you decide to run in this congress and are defeated, there is still hope. This congress is held when people say the ANC has done nothing and the ANC has not delivered after 30 years of bad governance and mismanagement, this is a complete misinformation and a lie being promoted. Some believe this lie.”
“We have built roads and houses,” he said.
Mbalula said ANCWL had to adapt and be strong in the modern era when women’s struggles against unemployment and gender-based violence continued to increase. He said that women should be at the forefront of leading these struggles.
The conference is expected to continue into the late night as nominations for leadership positions are expected.
Former leader Batabile Dlamini is seeking a second term and is likely to face opposition from Eastern Cape African National Congress (ANC) member Sisisi Tulashi, deputy minister in the presidency.