Durban – THE ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) in KwaZulu-Natal has weighed in on this week’s controversial provincial cabinet reshuffle, indicating that Premier Sihle Zikalala acted against MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube because she is a woman.
The removal of Dube-Ncube from economic development, tourism and environmental affairs (EDTA) to finance has been criticised by some ANC insiders who felt that the move was meant to “hit her” and that it was “personal”.
It is understood that EDTA had boosted Dube-Ncube’s popularity among the business sector, including in rural communities.
The unexpected reshuffling, which was also slammed by opposition parties, has highlighted Dube-Ncube and Zikalala’s hostile relationship.
Zikalala on Tuesday also moved MEC Ravi Pillay from finance to take over Dube-Ncube’s portfolio. In backing its provincial executive committee (PEC) member, the league described her as a hard-working and experienced MEC. Its provincial secretary, Nonhlanhla Gabela, did not mince her words, saying that Dube-Ncube would replace Zikalala at the end of his term as ANC chairperson.
Dube-Ncube is currently the ANC’s provincial treasurer. Gabela said the ANC leadership had never clarified a problem between Zikalala and Dube-Ncube. But she said that she was aware that the two had differences about the functioning of EDTA following a report that Zikalala presented during a recent PEC extended meeting to assess government performance.
“The report stated that senior staff members of the department’s entities were resigning as they were not happy with the leadership of comrade Nomusa, but I cannot really say she had done one, two and three, and also we did not have enough time with her to explain her differences with the premier.
“But through the premier’s report we understood that the functioning of the department was not 100%,” she said. Gabela said the league had anticipated worse from the cabinet reshuffle based on media reports on the alleged fight between Zikalala and Dube-Ncube.
“We were anticipating that this person (Dube-Ncube) would be sent home. We are happy that she retained the cabinet position as we believe that the cabinet needs her experience. “But we feel that the ANC leadership in KZN is too harsh and quick to take decisions when it comes to female comrades, but when it is males they are delaying,” said Gabela. S
he used the example of ANC provincial deputy chairperson Mike Mabuyakhulu, whose suspension had been lifted while former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede remains suspended as an MPL, though they are both facing fraud and corruption charges.
Gabela said the league felt there was political abuse of female ANC members “which has been started by the ANC leadership”. Sources within the ANC have insisted that Zikalala’s cabinet reshuffle was merely targeting Dube-Ncube, not a female leader.
“Right now we know that the relationship between the municipal manager and mayor in uMkhanyakude Municipality is in shambles, but there is nothing that has been said by the ANC.
“There are a number of similar municipalities, and you can see that decisions against them are delayed, but when it is a woman, a decision will be taken within three weeks. As ANCWL and women members of the ANC, we are not happy about that,” said Gabela.
She said it was high time that women took leadership of the ANC.
When contacted, Dube-Ncube’s spokesperson, Ndabezinhle Sibiya, said: “We prefer not to comment on such matters.”
Zikalala’s spokesperson, Lennox Mabaso, had not responded to questions by the time of publication.
ANC provincial spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela denied allegations of gender bias within the ANC.
“Ravi is a male and he was moved from one portfolio to another, so where does bias come from? Unless a woman was replaced by a man,” said Ntombela.
He said Gumede’s matter was still with the integrity committee, which had not finalised its report, whereas Mabuyakhulu’s issue had been finalised by the committee.