Everybody is ready for a woman president: Mkhize

By Drum Digital
05 August 2015

The question of whether the country is ready for a female president contradicts everything women have been struggling for, Hlengiwe Mkhize told News24

The question of whether the country is ready for a female president contradicts everything women have been struggling for, ANC Women's League (ANCWL) treasurer general Hlengiwe Mkhize told News24 ahead of the league's elective conference starting this week.

"I think everybody is ready for a woman leader to be honest," she said in an interview on Tuesday.

Since the early 1990s, there was talk of women being represented at all leadership levels.

"I don't know how [we started]... asking are we ready. That question is a contradiction... and unfortunately even us as women have been ambiguous in responding to it," Mkhize said.

She said for her, it was a given.

Next ANC president

As well as being ANCWL treasurer general, Mkhize is the national convenor of the Progressive Women's Movement of SA (PWMSA).

The movement is a non-profit organisation made up of a number of women's organisations and was founded in 2006.

Mkhize said most members of the PWMSA were also ANC members. However, those who were not would attend the ANCWL conference representing NGOs and churches and would participate in commissions where policy is discussed.

There has been a lot of debate around whether the ANC's next president, to be elected in 2017, should not be a woman.

Last year, ANCWL president Angie Motshekga said men who held positions within their party were not ready to relinquish their power to women.

"So we have to prepare you, so as to also enable men to deal with the loss of power," she said at the time speaking at the league's policy conference in December.

Campaign

Mkhize said there should be a woman candidate at the next ANC elective congress in 2017.

"When we go to the next conference we should be carrying a woman leader for the country.

"We have to name our card and really raise it high and say, 'This is it. We need your support'."

However, she said the fight for the top position in the party would not be easy as no one was just handed power.

"You hardly get people giving you power... nobody has ever got it on a silver plate if they want to be president of the country."

A woman candidate would have to campaign just the same as a man, going onto the ground and motivating why they should lead, she said.

"I don't think we have to change the standard and way of doing things because it is a woman."

Elective congress

The ANCWL's long-awaited elective congress is expected to get under way in Pretoria this week.

Delegates will register on Wednesday and the conference will start on Thursday.

The league, which has battled to hold its conference for the last two years, is set to elect new leadership.

It is understood that Motshekga will be contested for the position of president by Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini.

Source: News24

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