Letter: Capable candidates ready to be first SA woman president

The year 2017 will go down in history as the year when South African society and women, in particular, had the opportunity once and for all to restore the dignity of women in South Africa.

Many say that women are ready, and it is now the time for a woman ANC and country president.

Women have always been ready to take their rightful place as leaders of society, even before our democracy.

The problem has always been that men have condemned women to be second-class citizens, only good to be in the kitchen.

This is to ensure that men remain firmly with their hands on the levers of power.

South African women have proved themselves over and over again as capable leaders in all spheres of society, hence my difficulty in fathoming why they are only restricted from occupying the highest office in the ANC and the government.

It took President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, of Liberia, to show that women were capable of the highest office when she became president of that country, making her the first woman president in Africa.

What is the holdup in South Africa when, among the candidates, you have highly capable women competent at different levels?

Sadly, one of the hindrances in their path are women themselves, who acknowledge the fact that they do not support each other.

This is why we are seeing the current leadership battle with no fewer than three women – all highly capable – contesting against each other, instead of putting their weight behind one of them and thus restoring the dignity of women in South Africa.

The truth about this contest is that women and society will regret it if a male is to win the race, as it will now take a minimum of 10 years before a female can vie for this position again and 20 years if the ANC elects another male as its deputy president.

This begs the question: how long will South Africans be made to wait before highly capable women can lead the ANC and the country?

Some of the candidates speak highly of changes they will bring about as if they are not currently part of what went wrong in the first place.

Instead, throughout the years, they enjoyed quiet diplomacy and have all of a sudden woken up from a long hibernation.

Other candidates rank among the richest people in the country, raking in billions of rand, but nobody asks how they have accumulated such immense wealth while the majority of South Africans worry about where their next meal would come from.

Whose interests will they serve in the highest office? Is it white monopoly capital’s? The poorest of the poor’s? Are they not guilty of state capture and corruption themselves, before these words became fashionable, perhaps, in partnership with Johann Rupert, Nicky Oppenheimer, Christo Wiese, Koos Bekker and many more, while parading as the messiahs of a new order? Who sponsored their riches and how? Should they not be part of the state capture inquiry, together with the above names, plus others dating back to the era before the dawn of our democracy?

There is only one female contestant who aligns herself with the much-neglected Freedom Charter, and talks about land expropriation without compensation, free education, etc.

These are some of the imperatives that will provide radical economic transformation – which has been enjoyed by some of the candidates since the dawn of democracy – in favour of our people for the very first time in our democracy.

The voting delegates of the ANC have a monstrous responsibility to introduce a dramatic paradigm shift in favour of the poor and women, for once, by their all-important votes.

Do not succumb to attractive bribes by those with deep pockets, but prioritise the needs of the poor and women.

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