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ANCWL concerned about safety of women candidates in mayoral positions

President of the African National Congress Women’s League (ANCWL), Bathabile Dlamini, is concerned about the safety of women candidates nominated for Mayoral positions in the metros.

Dlamini says while the candidates are tried and tested members of the ANC, she is worried that their personal safety is at risk.

Under her presidency the ANC has for the first time fielded three women candidates in metros.

But this has resulted in concern for safety. In KwaZulu-Natal alone a number of people have been shot dead in what has been suspected as part of election related contestation.

The mayoral candidate Zandile Gumede fears for her life. In Tshwane there have been riots following the announcement of Thoko Didiza as the candidate.

Dlamini says they are sure about the candidates’ competence but they are edgy about their safety.

“I have fears and I was thinking about their children some of the kids are young they won’t be able to understand what’s going on and those are the first people we have to protect from this whole thing that is happening.”

Dlamini has also marked another milestone. About 50% of councillors on the ANC list are women.

This is another first for an organisation that wants to be seen to be embracing gender equity.

But even with those aspirations, secretary general Meokgo Matuba says it has been a tough battle.

“Women were at the bottom of the list but we were able to fight for our space and to tell them as comrades that the ANC is the one that has introduced this policy and we have fought for it as the ANCWL.”

Their success has not been without a price. In Tshwane riots continue, with protestors wanting the current Mayor Kgosientsho Ramokgopa to retain his position.

The ANC took the decision to rather field Didiza following fears of a rebellion from the factions in the area.

However it would seem their move has backfired. But Dlamini says Didiza should not be shaken.

“There are times when you have to stand challenges and for people to say you are a tried and tested leadership. It is when you don’t melt like ice when there are problems and we believe comrade Thoko is of that calibre.”

The next frontier for the league is to usher in a woman president.

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