winnie in ancwl race

Eric Naki

Eric Naki

The presidency of the ANC Women's League is set to be a hotly contested affair at the organisation's national congress, which starts in Bloemfontein today.

Gauteng education MEC Angie Motshekga and current ANCWL general secretary Bathabile Dlamini are front-runners, but Gauteng women are touting housing MEC Nomvula Mokonyane for the position, with Dlamini as her deputy.

In discussions behind the scenes the name of ANC stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has also been mentioned, with many provinces saying they will vote for her if she is nominated from the floor in accordance with the league's constitution.

The influential Eastern Cape is divided between Motshekga and Dlamini but the pro-Jacob Zuma OR Tambo region has nominated Motshekga for president and Dlamini as deputy. The region has no other name.

It is understood that Eastern Cape initially had seven candidates for each of the office-bearer positions of president, deputy president, general secretary, deputy secretary and treasurer, but that the province is now united behind Sisi Tolashe to replace Dlamini as general secretary.

Tolashe is a member of the Eastern Cape legislature. She was elected to the national executive committee in Polokwane.

The majority of provinces that Sowetan spoke to were concerned that Dlamini might pull out of the race because of ill-health.

In that case, they said, they would vote for Madikizela-Mandela.

The Northern Cape has decided not to nominate anyone "owing to divisions among ANCWL members in the province".

They said they were open to persuasion at the congress. The ANCWL has been marred by tensions in the Francis Baard region and the PEC feared that any pronouncements on the national leadership would further polarise the province.

ANC president Jacob Zuma will address the congress. It will also discuss policy positions on health and education, safety and security, housing, the environment, poverty eradication, economic transformation, governance and international relations.