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One female premier unacceptable: Duarte

It is unacceptable that only one woman has been appointed as a premier in the ANC-run provinces this year, party deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte said on Tuesday.

“It is a strange outcome which is not an acceptable one,” she told reporters in Johannesburg. “I would like to call it a political structural fault line. The fault is with us, and the fault is that we need to deal with the transversal reality of the structure of the ANC at provincial level and make sure parity means exactly that.”

The African National Congress had gender parity at national level, but not at provincial. Duarte said this was not because there were no capable women leaders in the party.

“We have capable women in this country who don’t need grooming to lead,” she said. “No man is ever groomed to lead anybody, they assume leadership is their God-given birthright. It’s wrong. Women can lead as capably and often more capably than men lead.”

Of the eight provinces run by the ANC only the Northern Cape would have a female premier, Sylvia Lucas. Kenny Moemang would be provincial speaker.

After the 2009 elections four provinces had female premiers — Gauteng, North West, Northern Cape, and Eastern Cape. The ANC held a special national executive committee (NEC) meeting in Pretoria on Monday where it decided on its premiers.

Duarte said it was a marathon meeting, which started at 8am and ended late evening. Each province proposed three names for premier, but the NEC had the final say.

“We [the NEC] were really concerned with the male domination of nominations and we agreed that going forward to the next national general council of the ANC we might have to review the nomination regulations and fine-tune them to ensure the selection process has outcomes which guarantee our policy of gender parity.”

She said the NEC decided where there was a male premier there had to be a female speaker, and the provincial executive committee had to be 60 percent women.

ANC treasurer general Zweli Mkhize echoed Duarte’s sentiments about the lack of women premiers and denied this was because of a lack of female leadership in the party.

“As you are aware a number of leaders… are women and the ANC has many of them in various structures.” Like Duarte he said women did not need to be groomed to lead and there was no programme like that in the ANC.

Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, the Free State, and Limpopo retained their premiers — David Mabuza, Senzo Mchunu, Ace Magashule, and Stan Mathabatha respectively.

Their speakers would be Thandi Shongwe in Mpumalanga, Sisi Mabe in the Free State, Merriam Ramadwa in Limpopo, and Lydia Johnson in KwaZulu-Natal.

In the North West, premier Thandi Modise was replaced by ANC provincial chairman Supra Mahumapelo. Sussana Tsebe was chosen as provincial speaker.

ANC Eastern Cape chairman Phumulo Masualle was appointed premier, replacing Noxolo Kiviet, who becomes the province’s speaker.

ANC Gauteng secretary David Makhura would replace Nomvula Mokonyane as premier. Former co-operative governance MEC Ntombi Mekgwe would be provincial speaker.

Duarte said during Monday’s NEC meeting stability in the provinces was discussed, as a local government election was 18 months away.

“We needed to be sure that we put in place people that can carry the burden of managing both an election as well as service delivery at a higher level than ever before, so that we capture back the space we may have rescinded in the national elections,” she said.

This was especially true for Gauteng. The ANC’s support in Gauteng, the country’s economic heartland, decreased from 64.04 percent in 2009 to 53.59 percent, the party’s worst provincial performance in 2014.

“Frankly speaking we didn’t do very well and the ANC is very concerned about this province. We want to put it right out there, it’s not a secret. We are concerned,” she said.

The ANC in Gauteng welcomed Makhura’s appointment. “We are confident that David Makhura will lead Gauteng province with decisiveness and sound principles, and continue to make it a better place to live, work, and play in,” it said. The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal congratulated Mchunu on his re-appointment, saying he was the ideal person for the job.

The SA Communist Party in the Eastern Cape congratulated Masualle on his appointment.

– Sapa