/Bathabile Dlamini fails women of SA one last time

Bathabile Dlamini fails women of SA one last time

2019-06-16 11:02

At no point this week did Bathabile Dlamini seem to take responsibility for anything, besides insisting she was not a drunkard, while on the job. She almost seems unaware of the Constitutional Court’s findings against her, writes Tshidi Madia.

ANC
Women’s League president Bathabile Dlamini has certainly had a field day in the
media this week. She stepped down as a member of Parliament, and did so in spectacular
fashion: with a 10-page blistering attack on her own party and its government,
and how she felt she was treated during her tumultuous tenure as minister of
social development.

For
the most part, I opted not to engage her letter or interviews. I figured, here
is an incompetent administrator, who in her arrogance and refusal to come to
the party during the social services saga, risked the paltry sums that the
poorest of the poor so desperately lean on from month to month to ease the pain
that comes with the high levels of poverty in our country, now suddenly
attempting to recreate her image.

During
interviews this week she shared her long-winded views about not being given a
chance to explain herself before the ANC, accused her colleagues of treason
and suddenly saw fit to raise concerns about the state of the governing party’s
national executive committee (NEC), now that the mighty Dlamini was not
reappointed to Cabinet.

At no
point did she seem to take responsibility for anything, besides insisting she
was not a drunkard, while on the job. Mam’ Dlamini almost seems unaware of the Constitutional
Court’s findings against her over her role in the social grants debacle.

“Reckless
and grossly negligent,” is what the ConCourt had to say about her failure
to fully disclose her role in the saga. She was also found personally liable
for some of the legal costs and the head of public prosecutions was asked to
consider charging her with perjury for lying under oath.

Yet,
she’s the victim.

Where
I’d normally agree with her, is on the issue of patriarchy and when she
cautioned her own political party about becoming a boys’ club… but then during these
interviews, as she was explaining how committed, wonderful and innocent she is,
Dlamini thought it apt to use “rape” as an analogy during an
exclusive sitdown with Eyewitness News… and that’s where she got me triggered.

Bathabile
Dlamini, she of the glorious ANC Women’s League, she who is seen as the
custodian of women’s interests and rights in the governing party, the very same
woman who spares no cent as she flies out influencers and celebrities to go and
support Cheryl Zondi while she testifies against her alleged rapist… the very
same one of the league which stood by the Steenkamps to the bitter end when
disgraced Paralympian Oscar Pistorius went to trial for murdering their
daughter Reeva?

While
I was trying to make sense of this, the 2017 ANC elective conference came to
mind; two specific things really. The first, that dismal media briefing Dlamini
led following Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s failed bid to lead the party, and
secondly, the reaction the late Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela gave journalists
when asked about the regression of women in the party as the top 6 went from
having two women to only one; Jessie Duarte returning as the deputy secretary
general.

Madikizela-Mandela
said she was not surprised and blamed the women for failing to work hard enough
to have more representation. Dlamini and her cohort failed to answer
when journalists asked why they decided to bet on just one female leader and
ignore all the others vying for other top posts.

Living
in a country where rape is a pandemic, where every day you have to preach “it’s
not about sex”, “it’s not about the clothes one wears,” or “women
and children are under siege,” one would hope women would learn that, rape
or the analogy of it, in this case, is not the tool or language to use when
attempting to politically reposition yourself.

Just
like calling black people baboons, using the k-word or calling anyone a
cockroach, it’s a no-go area. And it’s unacceptable to argue that using rape
as an analogy was correct as it was as an attempt to shock those listening to
her. Just like the courts found her reckless in dealing with Sassa, she once
again displayed the very same behaviour.

While
complaining about the damning impact of patriarchy on society, in the same breath she
enters the fray to do the very same thing.

For
many it’s a welcome relief, not having to deal with Bathabile Dlamini the
minister. To me, it’s concerning that she will remain a leading voice for women’s
interests when it’s clear she has little understanding of what that entails.

Suppose
it’s a case of aluta continua for the South African woman…

– Tshidi Madia is a senior political reporter at News24.

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