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By Eric Naki

Political Editor

Sisulu turns the tables, invites Ramaphosa to be her deputy

According to an ANC member, the fact that Sisulu is in Ramaphosa's slate is a clear indication that they are already working together.

ANC presidential hopeful Lindiwe Sisulu has approached Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to be her deputy at the ANC elective national conference in December, saying it’s time women played the lead role in the ruling party.

Previously she had been identified as a possible deputy candidate for Ramaphosa.

Sisulu, who entered struggle politics at a very tender age, also believes that the [ANC] president’s power should be curtailed and diversified into the collective. And, if elected, she would ensure that happened.

“There isn’t any single power that can be vested in the [ANC] presidency and I think it’s wrong.

“Partly where it was wrong was that our constitution was not adjusted to ensure that there was a collective power. The only time that we take collective responsibility is when something has gone wrong,” Sisulu said.

Variably, ANC decisions were taken by a few people and the time to change this had arrived, she said.

“I think […] one of the things that we can change is to make sure that we can diversify the power of the president into a collective,” she said.

Sisulu blamed the problem on the ANC constitution for this failing. On the issue of sexist leadership, Sisulu said men had dominated throughout the ANC’s 105-year history and that had to come to an end.

Men are egoistic, while women are natural nurturers of society that would take the ANC and the country forward, she said.

In an interview with The Citizen on the sidelines of the Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans conference at Nasrec, south of Johannesburg, at the weekend, Sisulu confirmed that she had been approached by the Ramaphosa campaign team to become his running mate.

But instead of agreeing, she turned the tables and invited Ramaphosa to deputise her.

“We firmly believe that this is the time for women to actually take their rightful place in society and lead society. I believe in women, most of us believe that they are the anchors of our society, of our families and all of those institutions that we hold dear,” Sisulu said.

This is an opportune time for the ANC to elect a woman or women at the top, especially from the current qualitative female candidacy, she said.

“The ANC has groomed enough women – any of the women who are standing – to be able to take us forward.

“For 105 years of the ANC’s existence, men had been at the helm and I don’t see right now why it should not be a woman.”

Sisulu vehemently dismissed as “malicious” some claims that her campaign relied on her famous Sisulu name, saying that she in her own right suffered oppression at a young age through imprisonment, being forced into exile and even joined MK.

But observers believe that Sisulu and Ramaphosa are playing a political mind game with the public.

“The fact that Sisulu is in Ramaphosa’s slate is a clear indication that they are [already] working together,” an ANC member said.

– ericn@citizen.co.za

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