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'A female should lead the ANC'

ANCWL members want a female candidate to take over the party at its 2017 conference.

FILE: ANCWL members want a female candidate to take over the party at its 2017 conference. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The African National Congress Women's League (ANCWL) says it's not trying to spark a succession debate after proposals from some of its senior members that it should support a female candidate to take over the ruling party at its 2017 conference.

ANCWL member and Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini has said she wants the league to support a female candidate while the league's National Executive Committee (NEC) says it wants more female leaders at a regional and provincial level.

The league's Khusela Sangoni-Khawe says this is not about starting a debate now about who will take over from President Jacob Zuma.

"But rather members of the organisation beginning the process of influencing and interacting with one another."

She says this is just leaders trading ideas ahead of their conference.

"The succession debate of the ANC is not open. Anybody who would seek to open such a debate is really being opportunistic because it is not time."

But political analyst professor Sipho Seepe it's a good sign.

"It is healthy for the party and the league to say 'we exist for the advancement of women' without necessarily saying they're fighting against anybody."

He says says if the league does decide to support a female candidate, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma would stand to benefit.

"She carries a particular weight as a minister who has delivered and it will appear that if there were to be women, she would be one who would likely benefit."

This could also be bad news for Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, if he does want to take over the party.

The ANCWL says its members are merely trying to have discussions ahead of their conference.