A woman 'must take over from Zuma'

NORTH West ANC chairman Supra Mahumapelo wants to have a heart-to-heart with President Jacob Zuma to consider having a woman as deputy president of the country come 2014.

This would prepare her for the ultimate task of taking over the reigns from Zuma when his term ends in 2019.

Mahumapelo told Sowetan in an interview that the time was right for Zuma to "promote a woman to take over his position when he steps down".

He was going to talk to Zuma "to think very seriously about himself and to say the time is right".

Mahumapelo said if businessman Cyril Ramaphosa, as one of the contenders for the ruling party's deputy president along with Kgalema Motlanthe, won in Mangaung, he should not be made Zuma's right-hand man in government.

He suggested that Zuma must snub Ramaphosa and pick a woman to be his deputy in government.

While his notion may seem far-fetched, Mahumapelo was adamant it was possible.

"This is my philosophy. I'm writing a paper [about it]. We need to break this patriarchy in our society that says a woman can't lead the country," he said.

The ANC Women's League has refused to nominate one of their own for the top post and has instead backed Zuma's campaign for a second term.

The furthest the league could go was to nominate national executive committee member Jessie Duarte for the position ofsecretary-general. The league's all other candidates are men.

Recently defending the league's reluctance to back one of their own for the ANC's top position and ultimately president of the country, ANCWL president Angie Motshekga eluded to the unity of the ANC being more supreme than anything else.

She then quipped: "It will happen in your lifetime."

The league's Mpumalanga provincial secretary Clara Ndlovu recently remarked that ANC women were not ready for the top job.

Mahumapelo questioned this reasoning.

"There are women who are capable to lead this country," he said.

He was referring to African Union chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who has left the country to focus on her new job in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa. - nhlabathih@sowetan.co.za