Will Sisulu throw her hat into the ring?

2016-10-09 06:00
Lindiwe Sisulu

Lindiwe Sisulu

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Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu would like a female ANC president to be elected on merit, but she declined to substantiate talk that her name may be put forward for the post.

“I wouldn’t want a situation where there is tokenism. All of us need to work on the qualities and criteria we are setting for a good president,” she said.

“I am certain that by the time we are finished setting those criteria, what will emerge is a woman. I believe in women.”

She said women had incredible capacity that had not been put to the test.

Her comments in an interview with City Press this week come amid talk that some ANC circles will put her name forward for the position of president.

City Press has learnt that there are ANC members who are trying to persuade Sisulu to stand for the position because they believe she is the perfect candidate, considering her struggle credentials, her seniority in the party and experience in government.

She insisted that she would prefer a woman to take over the position of president based on merit.

“If you get there on merit, if you are looking for the best person, you won’t find that far from a woman,” Sisulu said.

“They’ve got a particular personality in them that is able to both ensure that things are done and are done properly, and at the same time have a naturally caring instinct, a naturally nurturing instinct.

“All the qualities women have are the kinds of qualities you would want from someone in a leadership position.”

She said patriarchy, which held women back and made them think “this is natural, and I can’t go beyond that”, had to be tackled.

Electing a token female leader would not result in the breakthrough that was needed.

“The point that we are proving is that women are as good as or, in some cases, better than men.”

The ANC’s “Through the Eye of the Needle” document sets out criteria on the qualities of a potential ANC leader and assists everyone, including branch members, to understand these qualities.

The difficulty in the past had been that elections tended to be factional, and the party was now trying to move away from that.

She hoped, as prescribed in the party’s policy document, that the best man would win and that that man whould be a woman.

Asked whether she would accept if ANC branches nominated her, she said: “That’s far-fetched.”

That person would have to do some soul-searching and be honest about whether they had the right qualities.

Anyone who accepted nomination would have an enormous responsibility to check whether they qualified to be president during what she called “a very difficult period in our country”.

“We are discovering that governing is increasingly becoming a difficult issue,” Sisulu said.

“We are increasingly discovering that, maybe, when we were in the struggle, we did not actually understand how difficult freedom was.”

Sisulu would not say whether she had been approached to put her name in the hat.

“Why should we delve into rumours?” she said, insisting that ANC branches must be allowed to define what they wanted, adding that sometimes this is derailed by people who plant names to “bludgeon branches into submission”.

The branches ended up making a choice from the list of names they were force-fed, she said.


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