Bhengu defends ANCWL on Zuma

2007-12-04 00:00

The ANCWL’s decision to back Zuma instead of a woman candidate has been condemned by some gender activists and senior women leaders within the party.

Leaders who have been vocal against the decision include Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang and Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

Tshabalala-Msimang is a member of the league’s National Executive Committee (NEC) and Mlambo-Ngcuka is a member of the ANC NEC.

Speaking to The Witness yesterday, Ntshulana-Bhengu said the pronouncements made by those critical of the league’s decision were “uncalled for and against key democratic principles” — and confusing the masses. “The nominations process was a democratic one, and those within the [ANCWL] should respect the decision. The key principle of democracy is that when you are a member of any structure you respect and defend the winning view. One’s personal views stop when a decision has been taken by the collective.”

Ntshulana-Bhengu, a Zuma loyalist whose name also appears in the Zuma camp’s list of nominees for a position in the ANC NEC, also launched an attack on Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Speaking to the Sowetan newspaper last week, the cleric urged the public not to “elect someone who the country will be ashamed of” — a comment interpreted by many to be referring to Zuma.

“I respect Tutu, but anyone who wants to talk about issues of the ANC should join an ANC branch and raise these issues from within the structures of the organisation,” said the former MP, who was forced to resign from Parliament after pleading guilty to misusing travel vouchers in the “Travelgate” scandal.

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