ANC Women's League leader Bathabile Dlamini congratulates judiciary on Bongani Bongo judgment

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Bathabile Dlamini.
Bathabile Dlamini.
  • ANC Women's League president Bathabile Dlamini has congratulated the courts for "being above party political issues" after dismissing ANC MP Bongani Bongo's corruption case.
  • The ANC Women's League is planning a march to Luthuli House to demand unity in the ANC.
  • The league was also planning a visit to former president Jacob Zuma at his Nkandla home in an effort to advance unity, it said.

ANC Women's League president Bathabile Dlamini has congratulated the courts for "being above party political issues" after clearing ANC MP Bongani Bongo of corruption.

Read | It was a political gimmick - ANC MP Bongani Bongo after corruption case dismissed

Bongo's Section 174 application in the Western Cape High Court to have the case against him dismissed based on the evidence before court was granted by Judge President John Hlophe on Friday morning.

Dlamini previously said "the best judiciary is a judiciary that listens to the people".

Read | Bathabile Dlamini says 'the best judiciary is the judiciary that listens to the people' 

She told journalists via Zoom at a press conference at Luthuli House on Friday the league would "congratulate the judiciary where we see it is good".

She added: 

"We will try and raise earnestly the challenges where we see there are challenges, but not with the aim of destroying the judiciary. We hope that everyone is going to follow in the footsteps of those who are doing their best, because it's not everyone who has such challenges. There are those who have tried and advanced their understanding of the role of the judiciary."

The league is planning a march on Luthuli House "to demand unity of our leaders and to call for an end to institutionalised factionalism and all forms of factionalism".

Dlamini said the foundation of the ANC remains unity. She said the focus should be on "the struggle of the emancipation of the people of South Africa, as women are the majority of the country. If we don't stand up and fight for unity, the country will die in our hands, and we don't want to have such a challenge".

The league is also planning to meet with former president Jacob Zuma at Nkandla. "We believe the ANC must close all existing gaps between itself and its former leaders," it said in its statement. "We will visit president Zuma and continue to visit many other former leaders because they are part of the legacy of our gallant movement."

Dlamini said the league has already made contact with Zuma about the visit and will invite the media once a date has been set.

Zuma has reportedly refused to engage with the ANC's top six after the party's national executive committee, at its meeting almost two weeks ago, resolved that its officials should meet with Zuma.

READ | 'Ramaphosa is not welcome at Nkandla'

Dlamini did not want to give the league's opinion on Zuma's defiance of the Constitutional Court order that he should appear before the state capture inquiry. "I think this question is trying to make us disclose our conversation with the former president," she said, but she promised to talk about this after the visit.

Dlamini did not comment directly on questions about whether she had more clarity over why her ministerial pension was blocked by the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa).

League secretary general Meokgo Matuba said Dlamini took the women's league leadership into her confidence on the matter during their meeting earlier in the week. "We agreed to check what could be the challenges with regards to the pension," she said, adding that Dlamini had not been provided with reasons as to why this was happening.

The league's national executive committee "resolved to make it categorically clear that we support our president comrade Bathabile Dlamini in her demand for her pension which is due to her," she said.

She said: 

"We believe no woman must go through what she is subjected to, especially as a single mother. That is why we find no other logic for this than to conclude that it is nothing but cheap politics by those who want to settle political scores using the welfare of president Bathabile and her family."

She added: "No woman deserves to be treated like that, especially given what she fought for."

She said it was not right that Dlamini had to wait three years for her pension payout. "We believe women are going through difficult times in South Africa."

This week, Department of Justice and Constitutional Development spokesperson Stephen Mahlangu said the office of the solicitor-general found that the instruction to withhold the payment of her pension was received from Sassa.

"Reasons for the withdrawal of the pension are well known by the former minister and Sassa. Thus far, no party has contested them nor has there been any intention to do so," he said.

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