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It's not about me, it's about women - Bathabile Dlamini on being dumped from cabinet

ANC Women's League president Bathabile Dlamini has vowed to continue the fight for women.
ANC Women's League president Bathabile Dlamini has vowed to continue the fight for women.

African National Congress Women's League (ANCWL) president Bathabile Dlamini says she is at peace with not being appointed to the new cabinet announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday night.

For the former social development minister, the bigger fight, for the "emancipation of women", was won with half the national executive now comprised of women.

"I am still the president of the women's league and I am still going to fight fiercely. My struggle is for the emancipation of women, not for myself," said Dlamini.

She added that she was thrilled that "for the first time" women make up 50% of the cabinet.

But the battle is not over, she said, because the ANCWL is now targeting deployments in parliament's oversight committees. 

Dlamini said the decision of the president and ANC officials to equalise the number of women and men was welcome.

"It is the first time in the history of this country that the decisions of the NEC for equal representation are implemented," said Dlamini.

"We fought so hard, such that when we could not get females for premiers, we said in provinces where premiers are men, women must be the majority of the executive and speakers in provincial legislatures must be women."

Dlamini said the league was concerned that some provinces were disobeying this NEC resolution, promising that there would be blood on the floor, as the ANCWL would hold them accountable.

"Provinces that do not have the 60/40 policy while their premiers are men, they must account, because it means that they are taking us for a ride.

"It means that they do not understand that women play an important role in society. But also, it means they want to continue building a society [with] institutions of patriarchy and misogyny.

"Now that we have seen a progressive move in the cabinet, we are going for the remaining presiding officers and chairpersons of portfolio committees. So we need to ensure that it is 50% women representation in whatever structure, which is a first."

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