Traditional vs Modern: ANCWL members 'at each other's throats'

2015-08-04 18:28
Hlengiwe Mkhize. (GCIS)

Hlengiwe Mkhize. (GCIS)

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Johannesburg - Members of the ANC Women's League (ANCWL) were often "at each other's throats", its treasurer general Hlengiwe Mkhize told News24 ahead of its elective conference starting this week.

This was mainly caused by tension between a very traditional way of thinking and a more modern approach.

"The area which we haven't really dedicated time to, which I think will also feature strongly, is this issue of culture, human rights and tradition," Mkhize said in an interview on Tuesday.

"Because sometimes we are often at each other's throats. [There are] those women who live under tribal authorities tend to have strong views about the importance of culture, and those who are a little bit remote, away from tribal authorities, beginning to say some of the ways of doing things are taking us back, they are oppressive."

These are some of the issues the ANCWL will be focusing on at its long-awaited elective conference, which is set to get underway in Pretoria on Thursday.

Delegates will start registering for the conference on Wednesday.

It has been a two-year wait for the ANCWL, which has battled to hold its congress since 2013, when it was originally meant to be convened.

The congress has already been postponed twice this year.

The league is said to be plagued by factionalism and infighting, which forced the ANC to step in to sort things out.

Mkhize on Tuesday said looking that back to the 1950s and 1960s, women succeeded in their campaigns because they were united, irrespective of political, racial or religious divides

"Their strength was in unity. Those are things we want to really emphasise.

"Especially because, even [in] this conference, it happens that leadership is highly contested in ways which are not typical of the women's league. With two core groups pushing strongly on both sides," Mkhize said.

She said the ANCWL's would be emphasising the importance of the strength and values the league had always brought to the ANC - which was unity and reconciliation.

It's understood that current ANCWL President Angie Motshekga will be opposed for the top position by Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini.

'All sectors are male dominated'

Mkhize said this was a "big week for women in South Africa".

"It's an important time because it's an opportunity for them to send a clear message about what they expect women leaders to deliver.

Discussions on policies would also be focused around the inclusion of women in the economy.

"The problem, when I look at this, is women do not have a network. That's one of the things we have to talk about," Mkhize said.

"All sectors are male dominated, it's a historical fact. But I think, given the opportunities... I hope [we] will come out with smart partnerships."

She said women had to re-strategise about how they positioned themselves.

The women's league would also be looking at issues relating to domestic violence.

"Government's thinking is that we should focus on prevention, but unfortunately at the moment we will have to look at the training of people who manage and deal with trauma."

Read more on:    ancwl  |  bathabile dlamini  |  angie motshekga  |  pretoria  |  politics

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