DA leader Helen Zille has launched an extraordinary new attack on President Jacob Zuma, saying he puts all his wives at risk of contracting HIV.
Zille told Sowetan yesterday that "Zuma is a self-confessed womaniser with deeply sexist views, who put all his wives at risk by having unprotected sex with an HIV-positive woman".
She said the ANC's "professions of support for women's rights ring hollow indeed against this background".
Zille was responding to Cosatu Western Cape secretary Tony Ehrenreich's allegation that the all male, mostly white group of MECs she appointed to govern the Western Cape were "severely challenged MECs, who are not the sharpest knives in the drawer".
Newly appointed MEC for education Donald Grant sparked an uproar at the weekend when he told a local Afrikaans newspaper that he had to do "a crash course in education on the Internet" when he heard of his appointment.
Grant is a former small town councillor who has spent most of his life working in the fishing industry.
But Zille said that "while some of the ANC's senior women achieved their positions on merit, others are well known 'quota appointments' ".
She said Zuma was only able to appoint so many women cabinet ministers because he had extended the Cabinet to a "ludicrous" 62 members.
"But the real power remains firmly in the hands of the 'big men'," Zille said.
Yesterday Ehrenreich insisted that he would apply for a protected strike to "force the DA to promote equality".
Cosatu also wants the Public Protector and Equality Court "to declare the MEC appointments in violation of the Constitution" because they are an "insult to women and blacks".
ANC provincial spokesperson Garth Strachan said Zille had chosen MECs "who have a long history of being empowered in a very unequal society".
Although the ANC would not join the strike, the party respected Cosatu's decision, Strachan said.
Ehrenreich said Cosatu would also argue that executive authorities have a legal duty to implement the Employment Equity Act.