Someone should not make South Africans believe that the African National Congress Women’s League (ANCWL) leader, Bathabile Dlamini, is on the verge of being brought down in the country.
What I mean is, in as much as the ANC is facing turbulent times in the country, the party’s leaders including ANCWL leader must take heed in order not thrash their personalities before South Africans.
Just days ago, precisely, a day before the ANC’s election manifesto launch in Port Elizabeth, a video of Dlamini crying before Port Elizabeth residents went viral. While the fun lasted, she was accused of being drunk with an expensive alcohol and what follows next was tears rolling down her cheek.
As if that was not enough, Dlamini was shunned on Friday by Rhodes University students when she paid a visit to the institution to show support to students who embarked on a week-long protest against rape and sexual assault on campus.
While a handful of the students reluctantly made it to the university’s Theatre to hear her out, the rest chose to have a good time by watching a play based on rape and sexual violence culture.
Dlamini had earlier spent hours with Rhodes University Vice-Chancellor Dr Sizwe Mabizela in a meeting before moving to meet the hostile students. The league’s secretary-general‚ Meokgo Matuba‚ as well as its provincial executive led by provincial chairwoman Bukelwa Fanta also accompanied Dlamini to the visit.
Speaking at the meeting, the ANC women’s league president said, “Students at the university have faced many challenges‚ especially young women‚ and through the engagement with students and management‚ we have agreed that policies will be reviewed.”
The ANCWL leader also promised that the ANC Women’s League will work together with the university to effect change in the way cases of sexual harassment are handled.
However, the students queried her visitation, asserting that she came when the heat had gone down. A second-year student who pleaded anonymity said, “In my opinion‚ it is a slap in the face because they are only doing it for popularity.
Where were they when we were being shot at and arrested? Where were they last week during all our protests? How can they decide to show their faces now? As students we are angry. It feels like we do not have any power‚” she blasted.
Another student, Thato Rothwick however asserted that the league should have identified with the students from the beginning.
“For them to come out today‚ a week after the protests started‚ is quite bad. I think it’s just political showboating. Election time is nearing‚ so they are trying to drum up all the support they can,”Rothwick slammed the women.
ANCWL Leader’s Reaction
However‚ Dlamini responded to the students by asking “Who said we are only coming here a week [later]? When the story broke in the news‚ our chairperson and provincial secretary came here‚ so the branch and regional officials were here working with the students.
If you don’t see our senior leaders in a particular place‚ it doesn’t mean that we are not there.”