Mtintso: Women’s league let us down
President Jacob Zuma said on Friday that a female president might be in the near future of the ANC and the country, but some women want the party to move faster. Carien du Plessis spoke to Thenjiwe Mtintso, who has previously served in the ANC’s top six and was this week re-elected into the party’s national executive committee (NEC).
The ANC has again not elected a woman as president.
Who do you think would have been a good candidate?
I thought we needed a nomination of a woman for deputy president even if it is a nomination from the floor, but Baleka Mbete declined. My point is gender is not so much about the names because that tends to derail any debate.
People start with lists and things to the detriment of women in society.
These lists do not necessarily have women on them, but you must start by thinking about women first.
How should the ANC go about getting women in the top spots?
There should be an adoption of a principle to say that we as the ANC have contributed to the quality of changes in the life of women.
Women can be equals. When looking for leadership, women seem to be invisible. They disappear because we come from that society where they are not thought of first.
If you have the presidency, one should be a woman and one should be a man.
Women exist in the ANC. My point has been why not go and look for a woman?
Women are in the party’s top six. Is this not enough?
Women have been deputy secretaries-general for the past 15 years.
We have had Cheryl Carolus, Thenjiwe Mtintso, Sankie Mthembi-Mahanyele, Thandi Modise and now Jessie Duarte. It looks like being the deputies of the secretary-general is our role.
Deputy secretary-general, chairperson and treasurer-general – you could give it to a woman because these positions are not critical.
We look for the best (women), but they are only the best for these positions.
Only, there where it matters we don’t know how long it is going to take us.
The mistake in the ANC is we raise these matters as we are going to conferences, but the debate should start now.
The president of the ANC is likely to be the president of the country.
Are we not ready as a country for a woman?
That is something that we should be asking the ANC.
What about the ANC Women’s League? Shouldn’t they be lobbying for this?
The women’s league is letting us down because it has inadvertently passed a vote of no confidence in its own women.
It is also a deeper problem in the ANC because once there are slates in the ANC, the women tend to follow. The key lobbyists behind the scenes (before Mangaung) were men.
In terms of (conference) delegates of the ANC, at least 50% are women and often the numbers add up to more than 50%.
When people campaign for the leaders they want and negotiate about it, why don’t we (as women) campaign too?
» Mtintso is ambassador to Italy and will be returning home in March