“This move resulted in premier Helen Zille again having no confidence in any of her women leaders by not appointing them in her cabinet,” said Lynne Brown, ANC “shadow” premier.
Brown said women were only deemed fit enough to be used on their posters, referring to a picture of Zille who is the premier, mayor Patricia de Lille, and national spokeswoman Lindiwe Mazibuko.
The DA was also not living up to the constitutional principle of non-sexism and transforming society into a better place “also for women”.
Brown also questioned Zille’s reshuffle wanting to know why Albert Fritz was removed from community safety to social development, and why speaker Shahi Esau was not moved as they believe he was allegedly involved in tender irregularities.
The National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) was also annoyed by the all-male team and felt that outgoing mayor Dan Plato was not the right choice for MEC of community safety. During his tenure as mayor Plato was at the centre of the Makhaza, Khayelitsha unenclosed toilets saga.
It also opposed Fritz’s appointment and called on members of the provincial legislature to vote against the appointment of Plato and Fritz.
The reshuffle was made necessary by the appointment of former social development MEC De Lille as Cape Town’s new mayor. Former community safety MEC Fritz will replace De Lille in social development, and Plato replaces Fritz.
Trace Venter, spokeswoman for Zille as premier, said: “Any reshuffle the premier makes would have been criticised.”
Women held top positions in the DA — its leader Zille, who was also premier of the province, De Lille as mayor and Mazibuko as national spokeswoman.
This included many of the party’s top “shadow ministers” and half the mayoral committee in the city of Cape Town.
“None of these women have been appointed to the position for any other reason than that they are ’fit for purpose’. That is because the DA does not appoint women in top positions to fulfil quotas but because they are the most qualified for the job.”
Venter said it was ironic that both the ANC and Newawu, which was affiliated to Cosatu, had “chosen to act so self-righteously about the appointment of women when neither the ANC nor Cosatu have ever had a woman leader.”
Zille had made her selections based on what was best for the provincial government.
In 2009 Cosatu took Zille to the Equality Court over a similar cabinet as they were unhappy about it being all white and male.
Cosatu eventually dropped the complaint.
At that time the two reached a settlement and issued a joint statement saying Zille’s commitment to gender equality was “apparent”.
At the time Zille was reported as saying that all senior DA women candidates opted to stand for election to Parliament rather than the provincial legislature.
Zille discussed the issue with her followers on Twitter, saying: “First Juju called @LindiMazibuko a “tea-girl”. Now ANC calls PdeLille, Lindi and me “poster girls”. Who is sexist? Lol”.