Parity in the party

Eric Naki

Eric Naki

While the ANC is poised to increase the number of women in its top leadership, the hot issue to be debated at the party's national conference in Limpopo will be the "two centres of power".

ANC structures preparing for the conference, to be held in Polokwane from December 15, have been told to expect that the conference may amend the ANC constitution to provide for a 50-50 representation of women and men in the top leadership. Presently, Rule 6 of the ANC constitution provides for a one-third quota for women in the NEC.

The gender parity issue has been under debate within the ANC for some time, with Cosatu proposing parity be extended to all ANC structures, including parliament.

Many party members believe this is the ideal opportunity to implement the idea.

Should the conference agree to parity, the ANC will be the only organisation with the highest number of women representation in its structures.

Secretary-general Kgalema Motlanthe said all constitutional and amendment issues were being handled by a subcommittee of the NEC, which will report back at least a month prior to the conference.

ANC presidency head, Smuts Ngonya-ma, said the nomination process would be overseen by an electoral commission comprised of senior ANC members.

But the final election of the NEC would be conducted by an independent electoral agency. The delegates would elect the top six positions of president, deputy president, national chairman, secretary-general, deputy secretary-general and treasurer-general, plus 60 additional NEC members.