Convicted criminal Dlamini hits back at Mashatile over ANCWL resignation call

Bathabile Dlamini is being edged out of the league and her active participation in the ANC following her perjury conviction in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court.

FILE: African National Congress Women’s League (ANCWL) president Bathabile Dlamini. Picture: Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - Embattled African National Congress (ANC) Women’s League president Bathabile Dlamini has slammed party treasurer-general Paul Mashatile for suggesting that she should resign as the leader of the league and step aside from other responsibilities within the party.

Mashatile, in his capacity as the ANC’s acting secretary-general, was speaking on 702’s The Clement Manyathela Show when he said Dlamini had to resign following her conviction, last week.

The ANCWL president was found guilty of perjury by the Johannesburg Magistrates Court two weeks ago for lying under oath during a 2017 inquiry into the social grants debacle at the South African Social Security Agency.

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In an interview with Eyewitness News, Dlamini said that she believed attempts to have her vacate office were premeditated.

“It’s unfair because they are running a hundred meters, at the highest speed that they have not been running at with others who have gone through this,” Dlamini said of the process she was currently undergoing.

The women’s league president is due to meet with ANC officials this week to explain why she has remained in her position, in spite of facing the charges and being found guilty of lying to the court.

She suggested that the polarised political environment ahead of the highly anticipated ANC 55th national congress in December was at the heart of her current problems within the ANC.

“The whole thing is not innocent, the way people are speaking it sounds premeditated, you cannot have a senior official of the ANC saying I must resign from the ANC,” said Dlamini.

The troubled former social development minister, said there were people within the ANC who wanted to see the women’s league destroyed ahead of the December gathering.

Said Dlamini: “Their rush shows they know what the sentence is, they can’t wait, they can’t be patient, they are all running and coming through in all directions. You have Angie Motshekga and others holding meetings deciding that we must be disbanded”.

“This is about December, it's just about December,” she emphasised.

Dlamini continues to command some level of influence within the league’s national executive committee and has so far resisted moves to oust her.

The ANC’s own national executive committee meeting, over the weekend, heard calls for Dlamini to step aside but resolved that the matter be handled by the officials. The other issue to be decided by the party’s top brass is the status of the league, whose mandate expired three years ago.

The ANC had assembled a task team led by Defence Minister Thandi Modise to create a roadmap for the league and look into the possibility of dissolving the powerful structure that mobilises women in the governing party.

But Dlamini has further accused some of her comrades in the league of writing to the ANC’s top officials calling for the disbandment of the league.

Eyewitness News understands that Pinkie Kekana led the charge against Dlamini in February, calling for her to step aside. The NEC member, who is also the deputy minister in the presidency is also one of the agitators calling for the dissolution of the current ANCWL NEC.

Dlamini continues to not see her guilty verdict as serious, saying it was not even a high court matter. She was also reluctant to discuss the verdict itself and her own responsibility in it, arguing that entering into that space would mean getting into a “kraal” as sentencing is yet to take place.

But she argues that morality cannot be compared to charges of corruption, which have claimed the career of one of her staunch allies ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, who was summarily suspended after failing to step aside.

“The constitution of the ANC is carefully worded, someone who kills a person not willingly that’s culpable homicide, would that person be expelled from the ANC,” she questions.

Dlamini further argues, without naming anyone, that morals cannot be imposed on people, by those who themselves lack morality.

“There are people, actually who have done i’dudla ze zinto, big things, that are still enjoying their membership and their rights within the ANC,” said Dlamini.

She also laid blame on patriarchy for her ongoing woes.

The Johannesburg magistrate court is expected to hand down sentencing against Dlamini on Friday.

LISTEN: Bathabile Dlamini responds to resignation calls