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'Women in the ANC are on their own' - Bathabile Dlamini

ANC Womens' League President and Minister for Women Bathabile Dlamini.
ANC Womens' League President and Minister for Women Bathabile Dlamini.

Minister of women in the presidency Bathabile Dlamini on Thursday criticised patriarchy within the ANC‚ saying women in the ANC were “on their own”.

Dlamini‚ who also serves as the president of the ANC Women’s League‚ cautioned that the fate of women on the question of land ownership is being shaped “through the discussions of men”.

She was speaking at the department of rural development and land reform’s women and youth dialogue on land reform in Boksburg on Thursday.

“We are learning every day and‚ yes‚ in the ANC we work with men‚ but the lesson we have learnt is that we are actually on our own. What I don’t like is that when women are defined‚ people want to say our issues are apolitical‚” she said.

“We come in‚ at the pleasure of the president‚ and we do the best for women so that when the country says thank you‚ you say to yourself‚ I did my best. Yes‚ I made mistakes‚ but I did my best ... If we are not careful‚ everything that is discussed [around land reform] as we are speaking‚ is going to be shaped through the discussions of men.”

Dlamini said others have spoken on behalf of women.

“We have said in Nasrec [venue of the ANC’s national conference in December 2017] you cannot be liberated without economic liberation and access to land. Many people have since spoken on our behalf‚” she said.

Quoting anti-apartheid struggle stalwart Charlotte Maxeke‚ Dlamini said: “When you are a leader you must kill that small thing that comes to us that wants to claim leadership. She [Maxeke] says if it comes‚ push it away. If you happen to go up‚ you must pull someone with you.”

The dialogue at the Birchwood Hotel ends on Friday‚ with presentations from politicians and land and legal experts. Hundreds of women involved in the agricultural sector‚ and students in the same field‚ were bused in from across the country to attend the event.

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