ANC Central number - 011 376 1000






  1. Introduction
  2. Structures of the ANC Women’s League
    • NEC Subcommittees
      1. Policy
      2. NEC Deployees
  3. Overview of the state of the Organisation

    3.1 Elections
    3.2 Mobilisation Of Women
    3.2 August Month Activities
    3.3 Progressive Women’s Movement of SA
    3.4 International Relations
    3.6 Membership
    3.6 Provinces

  4. Relationship with other Organisations
  5. 4.1 ANC
    4.2 ANC Youth League
    4.3 Alliance Partners
    4.4 Other Womens Organisation

  6. Challenges facing the ANC Women’s League
  7. Obituaries


We are gathered here today as membership from branches, regions, provinces and National Executive of the ANC Women’s League.

This gathering comes during the year of fighting poverty and therefore becomes more relevant and important for us to meet as women so as to come up with a very clear programme that will help us to engage on issues of poverty from an informed position, more especially because the latest statistics show that out of a hundred people that are poor, seventy are women.

After looking carefully at the resolutions of the Nasrec Conference of August 2003, the National Executive Committee had a Lekgotla and identified five (5) key areas that the leadership has to focus on in the current period; and these areas center around the five pillars of the ANC;

  • Building a strong ANC Women’s League and a strong Women’s Movement
  • Deepening the culture of human rights
  • Women’s Economic Development and Empowerment
    • Consolidation of the ANC’s position through women’s mobilization to support a Democratic Government and to vote for the ANC, ensuring representation of women in decision-making bodies
  • Building a better Africa and world order

Much as we have implemented some of the areas of the Programme of Action, a lot still needs to be done to re-focus the ANC Women’s League so that we can be able to meet the present challenges and priorities of our support base and membership.



The National Executive Committee held its meetings as per constitutional requirements, though there were times when some of the NEC members did not attend the meetings as they are required. Some sent standing apologies to the NEC meetings.



Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula- PRESIDENT
Mavivi Myakayaka-Manzini- DEPUTY PRESIDENT
Bathabile Dlamini- SECRETARY GENERAL


Nosipho Ntwanambi, Pam Tshwete, Nomatyala Hangana, Baleka Mbete, Happy Blose, Maggie Sotyu, Charlotte Lobe, Angie Motshekga, Nomvula Mokonyane, Joyce Mashamba, Nana Mnandi, Yolanda Botha, Mildred Lesia, Tina Joemat-Peterson, Thoko Mabena, Sophia Williams - De Bruyn, Rebecca Kasienyane, Deborah Komose, Sarah Mereotlhe, Dipuo Peters, Prudence Madonsela, Sibongile Manana, Lindiwe Maseko, Storey Morutoa, Dorothy Motubatse, Maria Ntuli, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, Margaret Twala, Lulama Xingwana, Nosipho Ntwanambi, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Nkosazana-Dlamini-Zuma, Lungie Gcabashe, Dorothy Ramodibe, Sisi Ntombela, Pemmy Majodina, Edna Molewa, Zoliswa Kota, Pinky Phosa, Rosina Semenya, Sisisi Tolashe, Pauline Williams, Thoko Magagula, Getrude Mothupi, Sylvia Sonti, Zodwa Magwaza, Gelane Sindane, Rachel Modipa, Makhosi Ntuli, Sylvia Lucas.


Nosiviwe Mapisa - Nqakula, Mavivi Myakayaka - Manzini, Bathabile Dlamini, Kiki Rwexana, Bertha Gxowa, Nosipho Ntwanambi, Pam Tshwete, Nomatyala Hangana, Nomvula Mokonyane, Baleka Mbete, Happy Blose, Maggie Sotyu, Charlotte Lobe, Angie Motshekga, Thoko Mabena, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.


1. Gauteng

Convenor: Angy Motshekga
Dororthy Motubatse
Sophie Williams-De Bruyn
Storey Morutoa
Lulama Xingwana

2. Free State

Convenor: Charlotte Lobe
Maggie Sotyu

3. North West

Convenor: Nomvula Mokonyane
Rebecca Kasienyane

4. Western Cape

Convenor: Nosipho Ntwanambi
Mildred Lesia
Nomatyala Hangana
Baleka Mbete

5. Mpumalanga

Convenor: Thoko Mabena
Sbongile Manana
Maria Ntuli
Prudence Madonsela

6. Limpopo

Convenor: Lindiwe Maseko
Joyce Mashamba
Maite Nkoana-Mashabane

7. KwaZulu-Natal

Convenor: Happy Blose
Nana Mnandi
Manto Tshabalala-Msimang

8. Eastern Cape

Convenor: Pam Tshwete
Margaret Twala
Deborah Komose

9. Northern Cape

Convenor: Dipuo Peters
Yolanda Botha
Tina Joemat-Petersen
Sarah Mereotlhe

The Officials and NWC held their meetings as required by the Constitution and most of these meetings quorated. Officials met mainly to process work and decisions of the NEC and NWC. The NWC also met to monitor the work of the ANC Women’s League, to carry out decisions and instructions of the National conference, NEC, provinces, regions and branches. It also submitted reports to all NEC meetings

Some of our meetings could not take place only when there were Elections i.e. both National and Local campaigns of 2004 and 2006 were at their climax periods. This is due to fact that election programmes are integrated to ANC work even though there was some sectoral work. In most areas it is women who lead the election campaigns and volunteer to do most of the work and our structures become a great driving force in the elections.


The NEC has the following sub-Committees;


Convenor: Nosipho Ntwanambi

Members: Nana Mnandi, Dorothy Motubatse.


Convenor: Nomvula Mokonyane

Members: Pam Tshwete, Deborah Nkomose, Storey Morutoa, Rebecca Kasienyane, Nozizwe Madlala, Dorothy Mahlangu, Maria Ntuli, Happy Blose .


Convenor: Maggie Sotyu

Members: Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Dipuo Peters, Thoko Mabena, Hilda Ndude, Sophia Williams-De Bruyn, Bertha Gxowa.


Convenor: Nomatyala Hangana

Members: Joyce Mshamba, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, Prudence Madonsela, Brenda Madumise, Dorothy Mahlangu, Hlengiwe Mkhize.


Convenor: Charlotte Lobe

Members: Baleka Mbete, Prudence Madonsela, Lindiwe Zulu, Nomfanelo Kota, Terry Ndopu, Vuyiswa Tulelo.


Convenor: Happy Blose

Members: Sophia Williams-De Bruyn, Mildred Lesia, Makhosazana Njobe, Bridget Mabandla, Gertrude Shope, Amina Cachalia.


Convenor: Maite Nkoana-Mashabane

Members: Mavivi Myakayaka-Manzini, Jessie Duarte, Nozizwe Madlala, Lindiwe Maseko, Lula Xingwana, Baleka Mbete, Thuthukile Skweyiya.


Convenor: Angie Motshekga

Members: Zanele Mbeki, Tina Joemat-Petersen, Mildred Lesia, Lulama Xingwana, Yolanda Botha, Teboho Maitse, Hlengiwe Mkhize.

Some of our committees have not been functioning well and some have performed outstandingly. Others did not even take off the ground; the Disciplinary Committee met when there was a need; the Finance and Fundraising committee has also been trying really hard, however most of the time their meetings did not quorate. Organising, policy, women’s economic empowerment successfully held their meetings and were able to contribute immensely towards building the organization and ANC policy formulation.

In tribute

We want to take this opportunity and dip our banner for the passing away of Comrade Joyce Kgoali, who passed on in 2004. Comrade Joyce’s spirit lives on, may her soul rest in peace.

Another veteran of our struggle also passed on, Comrade Adelaide Tambo, who has been a mother to all of us and who contributed tremendously to the struggle for women’s emancipation and the struggle for the liberation of the people of South Africa.

Comrade Kate Mxakatho was active in the ANC, participated in the 1956 March, was an executive committee member of FEDSAW, Communist Party of South Africa, and SACTU, was one of the treason trialists and was a recipient of the Ida Mtwana and Mahatma Ghandi Awards. She gave her full life to the struggle and the ANC.

Comrade Ray Alexander was an all-rounder with an impact; she participated in the labour movement, Communist Party of South Africa. She ensured that young women were developed within the ranks of the ANC, she was also a recipient of Isithwalandwe, the prestigious Award of the ANC.

Other PEC members and veterans that have passed on are:


Veteran: MaMyaluza


Veterans: Martia Motsoenyane, she passed away in 2004 and Julia Tema, who passed away in 2006

North West

PEC: Meeti Thembeka, who passed away in 2006
Veteran: Caroline Chipape, who passed away in 2006

Western Cape

PEC: Nomafengu Whitey Pokwana
Veterans: Mamu Tyeko, Mamu MaNkosi, Cassie Vambo, Mamu Georgina Bani & Anna Langeveldt.


PEC: Fakazile Mthembu, Vivian Jantjies
Veteran: Gladys Mazibuko, Gladys Manzi, Ma Asiya


PEC: Fatima Mabuza
REC: Thuli Fakude, Nancy Mashego

Free State

PEC: Mafusi Lehalehale, Vivian Mangwane
Veterans: Dipuo Tsie, Mamoiketsi Kgokgo, Teboho Manyatso, Disemelo Meriam Mosholi.

Eastern Cape

Veterans: MaGodolozi, Maggie Resha, Zoe Mapisa

Northern Cape

Veterans: Asiya Mazwi, Vivian Jantjies

May we all take a moment of silence for Comrades that have passed on…..

May their soul rest in peace.

In Comrade Joyce Kgoali’s vacancy, the NWC recommended that Comrade Thoko Mabena should fill the vacancy and Comrade Maite Nkoana-Mashabane filled the vacancy in the NEC, she also serves in the NWC because she is now convenor of the International Relations subcommittee. Comrade Baleka Mbete was released because of her role in the Progressive Women’s of South Africa.


The Women’s League has been able to give leadership to society through its programme of action. The Women’s League has also been able to unite women by mobilizing them around the issues that cut across. We have been able to revive the spirit of activism of South African women through our campaigns, more especially the “save the life of Amina Lawal”, “find Constable Rasuge campaigns” and the launch of the Progressive Women’s Movement of South Africa from 5-8 August 2006, in Bloemfontein.

Our engagement with other women’s organizations has revived a strong network of women and has shown that the women of this country are ready to face the present challenges; that they still take the Women’s League as the vanguard for women’s struggles and women’s emancipation; women of this country still take the Women’s League as their leader.


We have also been participating in the elections programme of the ANC, during elections women volunteered to visit households so as to ensure that all communities understand how the ANC fulfilled its mandate of making a better life for all and to ensure that all communities vote for the ANC

We launched the 2004 elections campaign in Ethekwini Region and closed it in Cape Town where we centered our campaign around 50 years of the 1954 Women’s Charter campaign to celebrate 50 years of the Women’s Charter, which came before the Freedom Charter and a clause on housing, security and comfort in the Freedom Charter that was adopted in 1955 at the Congress of the People came from the Women’s Charter.

In the ANC National General Council, in July 2005, it was resolved that 50% of women Councillors should be elected to Local Government. Though we were not able to accomplish the 50% mark in all provinces but it is our organization that was able to field more women councilors.

This is proof to the fact that the ANC is ready to fight gender stereotypes in this country. It also proves that women are ready to take leadership; that is not enough, though; we still need to find a way of giving support to our public representatives so that they can improve on their performance as well as have an appreciation of the challenges they face in their respective deployments. Only one province has been able to organize workshops for women councilors i.e. Limpopo, this process has to be done by all of us so as to have confidence in our women councilors when the time for performance assessments comes. We also need to ensure that women make a difference in their deployments. Other provinces worked in partnership with government to organize training of women i.e. Eastern Cape.

We also need to understand that no one is doing us any favours when we are put in these positions; we owe it to ourselves and the heroines who fought tirelessly for our emancipation. People must not use this as patronage, we must refuse patronage with the contempt it deserves, because it may create conditions for a backlash and we will never be able to free the women of this country from the bondage of patriarchy.

The ANC has elected more women councilors than ever before, and more than any other party. Nevertheless, we have failed to meet our target of 50% women public representatives. Only three provinces (Gauteng, North West and Northern Cape) have succeeded in meeting the quota. In particular the Western Cape and KwaZulu Natal failed dismally.


Eastern Cape 45.6% 37.3% 54.6%
Free State 45.0% 38.7% 51.8%
Gauteng 51.0% 45.2% 57.9%
KwaZulu Natal 35.0% 21.4% 48.8%
Limpopo 48.8% 47.3% 50.5%
Mpumalanga 48.1% 43.2% 53.5%
North West 50.5% 49.1% 52.2%
Northern Cape 54.1% 55.6% 51.9%
Western Cape 39.7% 31.4% 49.7%
TOTAL 46.1% 40.5% 52.4%


We have mobilized women around the area of human rights, because women’s rights are human rights.

Our campaigns have focused on campaigns of no violence against women, we have worked with other stakeholders in these campaigns and have also participated in Government programmes on 16 Days of no violence against women and children and other activities to ensure the continued fight for women’s rights. All our structures have been continuously involved since it was introduced to us by the department of Justice during the first five years of our government

Immediately after our election to office, we took up a campaign to save the life of Amina Lawal who was going to be stoned to death by a Sharia Court of Nigeria.

We worked with women from the faith-based organisations, other political organizations, community based organizations, alliance partners and MDM structures as well as women organizations in Nigeria to ensure that the right of Amina Lawal to life and to choose, was respected.

We also engaged on “Find Constable Rasuge Campaign”. Rasuge became the face of the campaign on no violence against women and during this campaign, we discovered that there are many women who have vanished and their families do not know where their loved ones have disappeared to, and no one has been able to give an explanation to them about this.

There are also children who disappear and their cases are reported and nothing happens i.e. statistics state that;

From the News Archives of: WWW.AfricanCrisis.Org

Date & Time Posted: 3/24/2007

South Africa: Children vanish without a trace

March 12, 2007 Edition 1
Graeme Hosken

”Despite the South African Police Service having one of the world's highest success rates when it comes to finding missing children, there are hundreds of mothers who will never know what has happened to their young ones.

While the SAPS has a more than 80% success rate when it comes to finding children, for Sheldean Human (7), kidnapped from her home last month and found murdered in a storm water drain outlet last week, it was too late”.

The South African Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (SACMEC) is being established in South Africa as a joint initiative of (a) the acclaimed National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) based in Virginia, USA and its international division, the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC) and (b) the National Bureau for Missing Persons (NBMP) of the South African Police Service (SAPS). The establishment of SACMEC follows extensive planning and discussions between the NCMEC/ICMEC, corporate partners and representatives from the South African government, police services and Social development services. Although the work of the SACMEC will initially be centered in southern Africa, the business plan presented here includes the development of capabilities for responding to humanitarian crises in other parts of the continent and for the gradual development of agencies similar to SACMEC across the continent of Africa.

In South Africa alone, around 800-900 children are reported missing to law enforcement agencies each year; however the actual figure is probably significantly higher, given that many cases of lost children are not reported to the authorities but are dealt with by informal structures within communities. Similarly, the annual figure of 5,000 reported cases of rape and sexual assault of children is undoubtedly an underestimate; child protection services estimate that in South Africa 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys suffers sexual exploitation of one form or another. Over 2,000 children are murdered each year in South Africa.

The tracing of missing children should be given priority but the already limited police resources throughout Africa are hard pressed in dealing with other serious crimes. In addition missing children represent a specialized area of investigation demanding intensive training and sophisticated technology. Given these concerns, it has been recognized that law enforcement agencies cannot manage the problems of missing and exploited children on their own and that an independent agency specializing in the management of these issues is needed.

We engaged in this campaign to show the plight of women and children. Communities should break the silence so that we can take up these issues. We have seen through the “Find Constable Rasuge campaign” that state security agencies can work with communities when communities also collaborate with them.

We need to continue to deal with these issues because issues of violence against women are about our existence. We gained experience of engaging with sensitive issues in this case and we must use this experience to contribute towards saving the lives of women.


The ANC Women’s League held August month activities in North West in 2004 in partnership with government.

We have also been able to mobilise women through August month activities. We have also had our own campaigns as a form of affirming the ANC Women’s League as the leader of women’s struggles and have also had ANC Women’s League national events in provinces prior to Government events; our national event took place in Free State, Matsumpa Municipality in 2005. This was a build up to the 50th Anniversary of the Women’s March. Women in Lesotho also participated in this event, veterans who participated in the 1956 March also attended and were showered with presents.

In August 2006 we worked in partnership with the Government and other stakeholders to prepare for the 50th Anniversary of the historic 1956 Women’s March, which took place in Pretoria.

Veterans of our struggle participated in this event, what is good about August 9, is that all women of South Africa claim this day. Different sectors of women hold events to honour the veterans of the struggle, women who participated in the march as well as unsung heroes.

We also had women’s assemblies in 2006, so as to popularize the Progressive Women’s Movement of South Africa; these were assemblies for ANC Women but other political organizations, alliance partners, MDM structures and other networks participated.

The assemblies were used to plan for the 50th Anniversary of the historic 1956 Women’s March to the Union Buildings, some of these activities were turned to regional events as provinces wanted to access as many women as they could through this programme.

All our assemblies were successful but what came out clearly was that there was a lack of contact between the leadership and branches. This also gave us an opportunity to evaluate local government elections.

Women reiterated the mandate they had given us at the National conference on the Women’s Movement.

It was raised in the assemblies that the Progressive Women’s Movement of South Africa should be an enabling vehicle for women. It should enable women to eradicate poverty and hunger; women raised many issues and that they would prefer a working document rather than a constitution so as to ensure that all women understood what the Progressive Women’s Movement of South Africa represents and stood for.


The ANC Women’s League, Alliance partners, SANCO as well as the MDM structures have worked tirelessly to ensure that we deliver on the long-standing resolution of forming a Progressive Women’s Movement, which would embrace all South African women in diversity.

The process towards the launch was not very easy, as we had to agree as Alliance partners first, so as to ensure that we all understood our line of march.

The basic issues that we had to agree on were:

  • The base document
  • Working document/constitution and
  • Who should lead the Progressive Women’s Movement?

We agreed that the ANC Women’s League should lead this movement because it is the vanguard of women’s struggles in South Africa. The ANC Women’s League is an organization not a desk, we only need to ensure that we consult in all the issues.

We then started with the process of having bilateral meetings with various sectors such as rural women, professional women, faith based organizations, young women, disabled women, workers, traditional healers, women in arts and culture, progressive political organizations, children interest groups, NGO’s fighting violence against women and children.

We also had an opportunity of interacting with some Afrikaner women’s organizations such as A-Vrou-Net and former Afrikaans Vroue Federasie.

We launched the Steering Committee, which worked under the leadership of Comrade Mavivi Myayaka-Manzini as the Convenor on 08 March 2006.

The Steering Committee was given a mandate to prepare for the launch before August 2006, terms of reference were the following;

  • To raise funds for the launch; to continue to hold bilaterals with other organizations to enrich the base document in order to come up with the Constitution of the PWM/SA which later became a working document.
  • The committee worked very hard and delivered a successful Conference in Bloemfontein in August 2006.
  • The Conference was magnanimous, our leadership played a very important role of ensuring that there was unity and cohesion of the Alliance partners and MDM structures; media coverage of this historic occasion was very amazing.

All in all, the ANC Women’s League and the women in the ANC were able to implement its resolution of forming a Women’s Movement that will continue to fight for the liberation of women; give space for women to play a role in the public discourse and create space for women’s issues to be dealt with at a broader level.

In its evaluation of the launch the National Executive Committee agreed that more work needed to be done to ensure unity within the alliance, the incoming Steering Committee should ensure that it brings on board progressive Jewish, Hindi and Muslim women’s organizations.

We also need to continue interacting with progressive Afrikaner women so that they can participate in the Women’s Movement, the Steering Committee has to ensure that it keeps contact with all other sectors.

The ANC Women’s League must ensure that it nurtures the Women’s Movement so that it can implement its programme of action that the Steering Committee has come up with as per conference mandate, we also have to sustain the momentum that the Women’s Movement has created so as to ensure that all South African Women understand what the Progressive Women’s Movement stands for and unite around the minimum platform of action.

What we are called upon to do now, is to drive the process of provincial launches so that women from grass-roots level have a platform of action that will unite them in diversity.


We have participated in the programme of building a better South Africa and a better world through attending conferences of other countries in the Pan African Women’s Organization, the International Federation of Democratic Women and the Socialist International Women.

We have also participated in instruments created by the African Union and the United Nations to improve the quality and lives of women.

The ANC Women’s League has been invited by other countries in Africa to give inputs more especially of putting women in decision-making bodies.

We have attended conferences in Mozambique, Namibia Botswana and Sudan and have sent messages of support to countries where we could not afford to attend like Angola.


Immediately after our election into office, as the Secretary of PAWO in the SADC countries, we convened a meeting to introduce the new leadership and to discuss preparations for the PAWO congress.

We have also participated in PAWO council meetings that took place in Mozambique and Namibia. Those were preparatory meetings for the long overdue congress that is due to take place in South Africa before the end of this year. We have had a number of visits by the Secretary General of PAWO Comrade Assetou Koite as part of preparations for the congress.

The ANC hosted the Socialist International and the Socialist International Women’s Congress with the theme “Women in decision - making bodies”, where our president delivered a keynote address.

We also attended the Socialist International Women in Israel and the theme was “Women and peace” and the meeting focused on Resolution 1325 of the United Nations.

We also participated in the preparatory meeting of the WIDF Congress in Italy, the Congress will take place in Venezuela, Caracas from 08 to 15 April 2007. The theme for the Congress is “Women in Struggle” and the main issues for discussion will be:

  1. The negative impact of neo-liberal globalization on women
  2. The impact of state terrorism and imperialist wars on women
  3. The trafficking and merchandising of women and children (with special reference to sexual exploitation of migrant, refugee and displaced)
  4. Building international solidarity against political repression and all forms of violence against women
  5. Defending indigenous women from some of their cultural practices; for equality.
  6. Advancing women’s equal social status to; a) work, b) to reproductive and sexual health, education, social security, food and other areas of human endeavor;
  7. Changing the negative role of the media in their portrayal of women;
  8. Women in power and political decision-making positions;
  9. The history and role of WIDF in defending women’s rights, the struggles for national independence, social justice, democracy and peace.
  10. The WIDF, feminism and the gender theory;

We have hosted women’s delegations from Cuba, China, Angola, Rwanda, Sudan, Zambia and we shared and exchanged experiences and information with them.

We have participated through PAWO in the African Union meeting that was preparing for Beijing plus 10 in October 2004.

We also participated in the Beijing Conference that was celebrating 10 years of the United Nations meeting that was organized by the UN in China, where the women of China looked at how far they have come since that Conference.

In February/March 2005, we attended Beijing + 10 meeting which was hosted by the Status of Women of the United Nations in New York. The Conference looked at the achievements women had made in the past 10 years. One other burning issue was that of trafficking of women and girl children. This has become an international phenomenon and we need to hold hands with women from other countries to end this form of slavery and abuse of women.

What we have learnt from the above interactions is that women are not homogenous, but there are issues that cut across, that bring them together.

We were part of the ANC delegation to Cuba, China and Angola in 2006 and Bolivia in 2007. In these countries we have learnt that women’s organizations are very strong and their programmes focus on the needs of women and have special projects for women.

In our interactions with other women’s organizations, we have learnt that in Africa there is no strong women’s movement; most of the changes that have taken place in the AU such as the Constitutive Act of the African Union on 50% representation of women, have been put into place by progressive leaders of African countries.

This places before us a challenge of re-positioning PAWO so as to be able to face the new challenges of the continent, we also have to ensure that PAWO is well positioned in the Pan African Parliament, NEPAD, and the African Union.


Profile of the Women’s League membership is prominently black middle aged, predominantly unskilled and semi-skilled. Most of them are from informal settlements and rural areas. They constitute a vulnerable group in society and yet they are highly active in the issues of change and social transformation. We still have almost all generations in the history of the struggle of the ANC from the generation that worked very hard to establish structures of the ANC and the ANC Women’s League, the defiance campaign generation, the Federation of the South African Women generation, veterans of Umkhonto We Sizwe, 1976 generation, Mass Democratic Movement generation and the generation post the unbanning of political organisations, former student organization generations such as; South African Students Organisation (SASO), South African Congress of Students (SASCO) and the Congress of South African Students (COSAS) and the trade union movement.

These generations reflect a rich history of our movement and the strength that the ANC Women’s League possesses. They also place us in a better position to unite the ANC, provide leadership in the ANC and enhance the capacity of the ANC to lead.

Currently in both membership and leadership of the ANC Women’s League occupy strategic positions within the ANC itself and other areas such as councils, Parliament, Legislatures, executive councils, and others are ministers, deputy ministers and premiers in their own right as members of the ANC and of the ANC Women’s League.

The ANC Women’s League has introduced a new membership system with the aim of strengthening the organization; ensuring easy access to membership. What remains a big challenge for this system is that we have only one point only to process membership, and that is at the Head Quarters, and our branches are not well organized, as they do not keep registers of branch membership.

Comrades do not register with the branch after paying at the bank, membership should understand that this membership like the previous one should be registered with the branch soon after payment because a branch is the basic unit of the ANC and all members must join at a branch level.

Our main challenge in membership is that comrades still join or renew their membership when we are going for branch general meetings, regional conferences, provincial conferences or National General Councils.

Much as we have created better ways of accessing membership, we have not been able to have continuous recruitment, we do not have a strategy for recruitment, branches do not monitor their membership they only renew their membership for conferences.

Our branch statistics show that we keep our membership at the required minimum number, we do not endeavor to reach out to more members. Our membership does not reflect the size and strength of wards.

There are branches that have large membership i.e. Western Cape, Gugulethu branch which has 404 members. This branch has been a runner up for Charlotte Maxeke Award twice and this year did not defend its title.

We need to be able to change our support to membership, because when we mobilize women for activities on no violence against women, August month activities; the turn out normally becomes very large.

People have also been able to sideline other comrades through membership. Comrades want to stamp forms before they are used, when we expect people to access membership forms through branches, internet, regions and constituency offices.



3 AUGUST 2003


12 650


10 494


10 254


9 089


9 125


10 259


14 230


14 455


18 321


108 877


Potential Membershipe Branches in good STANDING      
EASTERN CAPE   637 210 19,451
Western DC10 53 3 339
Amathole DC12 170 59 5,309
Chris Hani DC13 101 39 3,915
Ukhahlamba DC14 42 30 2,053
O.R. Tambo DC15 163 37 4,145
Alfred Nzo DC44 48 32 2,323
Nelson Mandela Metro 60 10 1,367
FREE STATE   296 0 9,137
Xhariep DC16 17 0 258
Motheo DC17 56 0 1,606
Lejweleputswa DC18 69 0 2,536
Thabo DC19 85 0 2,400
Northern Free DC20 69 0 2,337
GAUTENG   444 0 4,518
Metsweding CBDC2 18 0 245
West Rand CBDC8 89 0 685
Sedibeng DC42 63 0 177
Ekurhuleni Metro 89 0 1,501
Johannesburg Metro 109 0 1,315
Tshwane Metro 76 0 595
KWAZULU NATAL   775 91 10,266
Lower South DC21 81 0  
Greater DC22 81 6 1,339
Ukhahlamba DC23 69 1 827
Greater Msinga DC24 47 0 61
Malahleni DC25 45 0 482
Abaqulusi DC26 81 5 861
Far North DC27 58 0  
North Coast DC28 97 0 558
KwaDukuza DC29 65 0  
Sisonke DC43 51 28 1,829
Thekwini Metro T 1 0 48
Thekwini Metro 99 51 4,261
LIMPOPO   489 82 13,634
Sekhukhune CBDC3 110 5 1,890
Bushbuckridge CBDC4 10 0 719
Mopani DC33 101 1 2,585
Vhembe DC34 89 19 2,302
Capricorn DC35 107 17 3,075
Waterberg DC36 72 40 3,063
MPUMALANGA   393 50 9,870
Bushbuckridge CBDC4 34 24 2,292
Gert Sibande DC30 123 4 1,638
Ekangala DC31 135 5 1,752
Ehlanzeni DC32 101 17 4,188
NORTH WEST   336 30 10,602
Kgalagadi CBDC1 0 0  
Bojanala DC37 124 11 3,917
Central DC38 88 14 3,325
Bophirima DC39 57 0 1,541
Southern DC40 67 5 1,819
NORTHERN CAPE   174 14 4,440
Kgalagadi CBDC1 24 10 1,216
Namakwa DC6 30 0 643
Pixley ka Seme DC7 38 0 546
Siyanda DC8 34 4 1,477
Frances Baard DC9 48 0 558
WESTERN CAPE   339 25 5,899
West Coast DC1 41 2 327
Boland DC2 89 3 1,000
Overberg DC3 29 0 171
South Cape DC4 71 0 948
Karoo DC5 8 1 193
Cape Town Metro 101 19 3,260
  TOTAL 3,883 502 87,817


Provinces are trying to ensure that the Women’s League remains strong, though they also face some challenges. The first problem we have is that in the North West we have an acting Provincial Secretary. The elected Provincial Secretary, Comrade Yvonne Makhume was suspended and subsequently requested not to stand for any Women’s League position after the disciplinary hearings.

In the Northern Cape, the Provincial Secretary resigned, in Mpumalanga Comrade Fatima Mabuza, also a Provincial Secretary, passed away in 2006.

In Limpopo, the Provincial Secretary, due to demarcation process, was put to a different province. In the Eastern Cape, we have an acting Provincial Secretary, the elected Provincial Secretary had to resign because she could not cope with work and attempts were made to support her, but that did not make any difference. The NWC and PEC in the province agreed that she should continue serving in the PEC so that she can be developed.

Another challenge is that our Provincial Secretaries are not full-time in the provinces; most of them are working elsewhere; this has proved to be a serious drawback and our center cannot hold. The National Executive Committee has reviewed the decision it made due to lack of finances, we recommend that all Provincial Secretaries should be full-time, so that our programme of action can be implemented, our structures do get proper guidance from the provinces. It is difficult to ensure monitoring and tracking of our work without full-time Secretaries. We have raised this matter with the ANC Officials and they are looking at cost implications of this.

Another challenge is that there is no administrative staff and organizers in most of our provinces as well as regions and this demands that we have very matured structures which can be able to implement decisions as well as to implement the good programmes that we have always come up with on an annual basis.

Most provinces have a problem of holding Provincial Executive Committee meetings that do not quorate. Some do not hold officials meetings to process the work of the Provincial Working Committee, some have raised concerns about the status of officials and it has been difficult to implement decisions of the Provincial Executive Committee.

Comrades deployed to regions do not do their work, they only wake up on the eve of conferences, and some have not been able to balance between deployment work as public representatives and their work as leaders of the ANC Women’s League.

The ANC Women’s League tends to be compromised most of the time, and that is why we have not been able to implement our programme of action in some of our provinces. Comrades do not want to take responsibility for standing for election; they want to find excuses for not doing their work rather than balancing their work carefully.

This is also related to the issue of resources, we have a mentality that someone out there should raise funds for our structures; we do not have a radical strategy of fundraising so that we can be able to sustain our structures and comrades generally do not want to take responsibility.

We need to agree with the Gauteng province “that to be in the leadership of any structure of the ANC is serious business. We cannot and must not accept free-riders in the leadership structure of our movement because they are dangerous parasites. However busy one maybe either in government or elsewhere, once you stand for election in the Conference, you have to make time. Otherwise, why do we elect people who are too busy to do basic organizational and political work into the ANC leadership organs? The BEC, REC, PEC and NEC are not structures for patrons who are just there for the purposes of prestige. We need activists and leaders who are prepared to slog it out when the movement needs them most. This is a message we should carry to the AGM’s, regional conferences, provincial conferences and the National conference of the ANC Women’s league in 2008”.

One other thing that has been a challenge is the phenomenon of forming groups when we prepare for organizational conferences’ elections; these groups are named “caucuses” and these are sustained even after conferences and become cliques and factions; these have a potential of destroying our organization because they are a virus and a demon that threaten the very existence of our movement.


They had their Conference in December 2003.

They have been participating in National programmes like the PWMSA and had a delegation to the 50th anniversary celebration in Pretoria They participated in local government elections and some of the problems they have presently are as a result of local government elections.

The provincial secretary Comrade Fatima Mabuza passed on. The province then decided that Comrade Gelana Sindane should act as secretary.

There is an emerging trend of membership increase when they prepare for conferences and most branches that hold AGMs are not inducted and the leadership ends up not understanding the rules and procedures of branch AGMs, e.g., new members are allowed to stand for positions in the BEC and preparatory meetings for branch AGMs are not held. What is important is that even though there are problems, women participate in organs of civil society.

Branches do not hold branch general meetings so as to give life to the branch, they only hold meetings with the purpose of being elected.

The province has four regions, Bohlabela still has a Regional Task Team due to the programme of re-alignment. Most regions do not quorate, branches do not report to the REC, structures used to meet properly before elections, they used to submit reports to the province and had continuous programmes. Presently they cannot manage their time properly, women worked hard during elections, even though the list process was not favourable to them. The sectoral programme was hampered by resources. Women participated in Local Government elections. There are women who hold senior positions in local government.

What clearly became problematic after local government elections is that some women councilors led the programme of recruitment without proper co-ordination by the leadership.

Two regions lost their leadership, for instance Gert Sibande lost Deputy Chairperson, Comrade Thuli Fakude, and Ehlanzeni lost an additional member Comrade Nancy Mashego.

In some of the regions it is difficult to deal with issues of recruitment because it takes time for the ANC to punch in its membership into the system.

Regions organise activities around calendar events like sixteen days of activism, around the issues of no violence against women.

Recently women organized a March to Volkrust police station, where a woman was raped in a police cell, they also had pickets.

Most regions relate well with the ANC Youth League and the Alliance and they support some of the Alliance activities like a march by SADTU against the murder of a female teacher.

In 2004, ward MB 21 from Ehlanzeni was awarded with the Charlotte Maxeke Award and in 2006 ward NK 20, from the same region was the runner up for the Award.


The PEC met as per constitutional requirements some PEC meetings could not quorate up until local government elections. NEC deployees intervened to deal with the matter. They have not co-opted anyone to the vacancy of the provincial secretary in the Provincial Working Committee. Their sub-committees are not meeting as expected, attempts were made to ensure that the PEC sub-committees meet but that did not materialise. PEC members are deployed to regions so as to assist them to implement their programmes and give leadership. The disadvantage is that PEC deployees do not give collective reports they mainly give individual reports.

The PWC and Officials meet as per constitutional requirement but sometimes do not quorate. The PEC was inducted by ETU in 2005 as well as the regions except for the RTT. Secretaries meetings only took place between 2004 and the end of March 2005.

The province organised memorial services for leaders like Ray Alexander, Joyce Kgoali, Fatima Mabuza, Adelaide Tambo and others.

They have also been part of government events such as 16 Days of no violence against women; they work with other stakeholders such as faith-based organisations.

They have a committee that is preparing for the launch of the Progressive Women’s Movement of South Africa. The PEC has also visited regions with the aim of mobilising them to do their work and resuscitate structures; the Women’s Assemblies programme was also taken to regions. They have also been part of national programmes and they try to ensure that programmes are taken down to regions. They relate well with the ANC and the ANC Youth League, their relationship is based on political work and mobilisation of women for women’s activities.

They are relating well with Alliance partners and they work very closely with Malibongwe. They have ensured that women’s caucuses are established in different municipalities and districts, they also relate well with the OSW and they mostly work together on calendar related issues.


Their conference took place in January 2004.

One of their PEC members Comrade Fakazile Mthembu, passed on in 2005. Due to the demarcation process one member from Eastern Cape province was co-opted to the PEC.

The PEC had meetings as per constitutional requirements and the structures could not meet during elections because the leadership was involved in the mobilisation of women. The Officials and Provincial Working Committee also met and sometimes did not quorate, it was then agreed that those present in meetings should continue and meet so as to continue with the implementation and processing of PEC decisions.

They formed a policy sub-committee after the conference and it hardly met, but attended ANC meetings. Members of the PEC are deployed to regions, they have a Malibongwe committee, which is trying to establish committees in regions. They are working with other stakeholders to ensure that the Progressive Women’s Movement of South Africa is launched in the province and they have developed a network of thirty organisations who participate in the provincial PWM/SA.

They relate well with the ANC and the ANC Youth League, though they do not have formal relations with the ANC Youth League.

They also have good relations with the Alliance partners and they invite them to their activities.

They work in partnership with other women’s formations and the Government, they were part of the Government events to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Women’s March, the reburial of Moses Mabhida, Satyagraha, Bhambatha Centenary, World Aids Day, 16 Days of no violence against women and children; they were also part of the SAWID launch.

Ethekwini, Sisonke (Harry Gwala) and Bhambatha regions have had their regional conferences.

They were part of the election programmes in both general and local government elections and women were elected to senior positions though they are still faced with the challenge of fighting for equal representation in all ANC structures, municipalities and districts. This province faces a real challenge when it comes to deployment of women to senior positions.

They participated in National campaigns and mobilised women for the celebrations of the 50 years of the Women’s Charter event, which was attended by the President of the ANC Women’s League.


Some regions hold their meetings regularly, they have assisted women to form co-operatives which have sewing, gardening, HIV and AIDS, bricklaying and child care projects.

North Coast region has tried to induct its branches, some of the regions are rural and very vast which makes it difficult to keep constant contact with the membership.

KwaDukuza region has had a problem of taxi violence and the leadership has had problems of co-coordinating programmes in the region. This region was launched on Human Rights Day, and has been a very difficult region as it was riddled with violence and in Ulundi a woman became a councilor of the ANC but when reasons were given for not appointing more women as councilors it was said that they were afraid

Abaqulusi region is predominantly rural and vast, land is occupied by farmers and Amakhosi that are hostile to the ANC.

All regions embarked on campaigns on no violence against women and children in 2006, they worked in partnership with the government on the campaign against the abuse of farm workers. Through this interaction, they have learnt some of the challenges of farm workers.


The Provincial Executive Committee remains intact since its election but some of its members are no longer serving in the PEC because of their continued absence. One of their PEC members, Comrade Mafusi Lehalehale passed on in February 2007. May her Soul rest in peace. PEC sub-committees are dysfunctional except for the fundraising sub-committee. The National deployees have been participating as a resource for the ANC Women’s League. Three Officials are still committed and they meet, the PWC meets to process issues of the PEC and reports are given to the PEC.


The state of regions differ from region to region, however all in all regions become more active if there events of the League or the ANC.

The state of functionality


This is the weakest region in terms of membership, structures and functionality.
Though the argument has always been the vastness of the region and the levels of poverty, still structures of the ANC survive under those circumstances. Poverty levels seem to contribute because women have to also pay for joining the ANC Women’s league.


This region is amongst those that have had their ups and downs but still stronger, its structures are now functional, both the REC and the RWC meet on a regular basis. The region reported to the PEC the fact that as a result of non-availability of their chairperson for organizational work she had to be recused from her organizational duties.

However during the past 12 months this region was faced with challenges of members who did not attend REC meetings and did not tender apologies as a result meetings did not quorate, and the PEC decided to beef up the REC to enable it to prepare for the regional conference, because disbandment would not have been a solution.

It can safely be reported that since the beefing up, the REC became functional they are sitting in meetings of the ANC as ex-officio’s, they are represented by their secretary in the RWC and participate in committees of the ANC in the region. The REC also participates in political education classes of the region on Thursdays.

The region convened a consultative meeting early this year with representatives from branches, with the objective of discussing building the organization and evaluating status of the organization in the region.

Like all the other regions of the League they are working with needy families assisting them to access IDs, grants and indigent burials.


This region has also had its own share of ups and downs, which were mainly because of non-availability of its members, meetings sometimes did not take place. This was caused in the main by lack of prioritisation of organisational work and lack of commitment. The PEC convened a meeting with the REC, which was followed by a workshop on the challenges of the leadership and the conduct of ANC members and the discipline of a cadre. This workshop was followed by meetings with branches as well. Presently the REC is now functional and is represented by the chairperson and the secretary in the REC and participates in programs of the ANC in the region. However, like the rest of the regions this region also becomes even more active when there are events either in the region or the province. And like the others they also do social development work, though not programmatic work, but they respond to needs of the community.

Fezile Dabi

This region had problems of meetings which were failing due to non-attendance of members and lack of commitment. The PEC resolved to visit the region and organized a workshop for the REC and the branches which were followed by social activities like concerts at which other regions were invited by the province with the intention of creating a platform of sharing information.

The PEC also resolved to beef up the REC to enable it to do the work and prepare for the regional conference. The region has shown remarkable changes and is now functional. The membership is growing because they have also embarked on a door-to-door campaign.

This region also becomes more active when there are events either in the region or the province. Like the other regions they also do social development work though not programmatic work, but they respond to needs of the community.

Thabo Mofutsanyana

This is the strongest of our regions in the province, this region always has an implementable program of action. The REC is still intact and functional and sits in the ANC REC as an ex-officio, and reports on a regular basis to the province. The PEC did visit this region as part of its visits and also had meetings with branches, and the only challenge identified was the delay in the issuing of membership cards of the League.

This region is the most hit by gender based violence than any region other in the province, as a result they organized marches and pickets from time to time. It also reacts to situations from time to time on matters of social development.

Regions were all very active before their regional conferences but declined due to reasons such as the problem of the membership system, lack of commitment by some regions like Lejweleputswa which ended up being disbanded, Fezile Dabi region does not meet any more, the province has tried on a number of times to attend to their problems and they decided to give more support to the region and still there have been no changes, the PEC had no choice and ended up disbanding the region.

Xhariep RTT has also been disbanded because it has never organised branches in preparation for the regional conference because the work of the RTT is to do the above.

Motheo has not put diligence into their work, most of their members have resigned from the REC and the PEC has assisted them to co-opt some members so that they can start preparing for the conference. Officials do not do their work, one of the challenges is that some comrades from the ANC Women’s League are involved in disturbing meetings of the ANC. Branches are involved in campaigns around abuse of vulnerable groups.

In Botshabelo, branches have worked with councillors to form home-based care groups.

Botshabelo and Fezile Dabi branches have inter-branch meetings that they call “Umjikelo” so as to raise funds for their branches.

Xhariep region is very vast and it has been difficult to hold meetings in this area.


The PEC organised an August month rally in Mantsupa in collaboration with Lesotho Congress for Democracy Women’s League in 2005. They have worked with women from various sectors to increase their network and have created a platform for women. These are: businesswomen, faith based organisations etc. They are in the process of preparing for the launch of the provincial Progressive Women’s Movement of South Africa. Businesswomen have been contributing towards their programmes of poverty alleviation, schools etc.

They relate well with the ANC and the ANC Youth League, Alliance partners and SAWID. They work in partnership with the provincial as well as local government on issues of women. The province has been able to advance and defend the rights of women in all spheres of life. They have ensured that women participate in programmes of the ANC through various campaigns such as elections. The province is trying to develop the capacity and space for debates amongst the leadership and membership, they also provide support to women councillors.


The province had its conference in November 2003. The PEC and PWC meet as per constitutional requirements and they are still intact. The elected Secretary Maykie Dipuo resigned and Comrade Sylvia Lucas now acts as the Provincial Secretary. Comrades Romina Van Wyke and Comrade Thembsi Madikane were co-opted to the PEC. PEC members are deployed to regions so as to give guidance to regions and branches, Policy sub-committees were formed but they do not meet.

They participate in ANC campaigns such as elections. They usually hold PEC meetings in Frances Baard and Siyanda regions due to their accessibility.

They have been affected by mass recruitment severely because of the lack of monitoring of recruitment work. When ANC membership expires the ANC Women’s League membership also expires.

Their provincial organiser Comrade Maria Msindo passed away, they have a problem of lack of financial as well as human resources.

Comrades Romina Van Wyke and Violet Meruti resigned from the PEC due to non-attendance and National Parliamentary commitments respectively.

All their regions are due for conferences. The regions have been able to implement National and provincial Programmes of Action.

Kgalakgadi has been incorporated into the Northern Cape. The Chairperson and Secretary of the region has been co-opted to the PEC, their Deputy Chairperson Comrade Thembeka Myedi passed away in 2006. The region is vast, rural and under developed.

They are still faced with the problems of pre-cross boundary tensions, NEC deployees and the PEC together addressed these successfully during the process of deployment of comrades after local government elections.

Frances Baard, is densely populated, but small and it is easy to do organisational work in this region. The region has been functioning well until recently, there are tensions developing in the province. Their membership has declined.

Siyanda region embarked on recruitment campaign in 2006, after realising that their membership and state of branches could not take them to the regional conference.

Branches have been able to take up campaigns of no violence against women since the region is plagued with this problem.

Namaqua has been good in implementing organisational campaigns more especially during the women’s month and 16 days of activism. They had an Economic Summit for local councillors. There are tensions in the ANC that have manifested themselves in the ANC Women’s League and women in the League are also intimidated, they were also affected by the list process. The few committed members of the REC are busy preparing for the regional conference.

Pixley Ka Seme has been the weakest region, but they are slowly picking up due to the assistance given by the PEC, which developed a programme of action to assist them. They have a stable relationship with the ANC and the ANC Youth League. Their relationship with Alliance partners is events driven, they worked together towards the National launch of the Progressive Women’s Movement of South Africa and it has even launched in five (5) regions.

They have embarked on a number of campaigns including national and provincial such as the ID, 16 days of activism, elections campaigns etc. They also had a political school in April 2005.

They have also participated in strategic issues of Governance, Legislature and development. They organised a successful Indaba for women councillors in June 2006, in the run up to the 50th Anniversary celebrations.


The province has worked hard to ensure that it meets constitutional requirements, though there has been a decline in the participation of members in organisational structures. This is due to the ANC was busy with its regional conferences, Government or ANC activities disturb some of their meetings.

The delay in the issuing of ANC cards has tremendously affected the ANC WL. ANC Women’s League members are more committed to ANC work and the ANC WL membership system has its own challenges too. They are actively involved in the Progressive Women’s Movement of South Africa, their launch took place on 23-25 March 2007. They have been involved in National as well as provincial campaigns. They work in partnership with other women’s organisations and alliance partners.

They relate well with the ANC and the ANC has decided to work with them in resuscitating the branches of the ANC Women’s League, through Imvuselelo campaign with the aim of placing members and branches at the center of the ANC Women’s League work. They worked in partnership with the North West Province to drive the “Find Constable Rasuge campaign”.

They have not been able to translate their support to actual membership. The ANC provincial membership has 53% women and that is not reflected in the ANC Women’s League membership.

In the year 2003, the ANC Women’s League launched its National campaign of 16 days of no violence against women in this province.


Overberg region still has a Regional Task Team that has not been doing its work of launching branches in preparation for the regional conference.

Central Karoo, some of the members have joined ICOSA and the Women’s League was affected by ANC problems.

Boland, membership is increasing slowly, in Dullar Omar, membership has dropped, this is a very vast region and there is a volunteer who is coordinating organisational work.

Southern Cape, the REC did not engage in programmes and a Task Team has been formed to work towards conference preparations.

Women’s Assemblies were held in each region with the aim of accessing more women. These assisted to strengthen communication.


Office bearers meet once a week. The Deputy Secretary that was elected at conference did not attend meetings and the province ended up having a special Provincial General Council where they elected a Deputy Secretary and she also resigned due to work load in the ANC. The Provincial Working Committee meets fortnightly and sometimes meetings are affected by ANC and government programmes. PWC members are heads of departments.

A twenty (20) member PEC was elected at conference, but only fourteen (14) attended meetings and three comrades were co-opted to the PEC. Departments are not functioning properly and that has resulted in the organisation not developing qualitative leadership that is able to defend the organisation. The Province has contributed towards the programmes of the ANC and it is the Women’s League that has been leading election campaigns in this province, attending to contested areas.

They had bilaterals with the ANC President to look into the political challenges of the Western Cape. They have a good relationship with the ANC Youth League. Their relations with the Alliance partners are issue based. They have had interactions with farm workers in De Doorns under the banner of the Progressive Women’s Movement of South Africa.

They cooperate with SAWID in the province, which was launched on 01 August 2006 and they have had a meeting with the patron of SAWID to discuss a dialogue with Burundi women. Their Malibongwe is strong but there are challenges that the province is still faced with. They have not been able to interpret their support into membership.

They usually organise veterans lunches around the month of August, they also work in collaboration with the Government and have organised dinners for veterans together with the Deputy Presidents Office.



The PEC was elected in February 2004. The provincial Officials meet fortnightly, there are now three (3) Officials as the Secretary resigned and it was decided that the Deputy Secretary should act as the Provincial Secretary. The Deputy Chairperson was deployed as an Ambassador to Greece and as a result they now only have three Officials.

The Officials process the work of the PEC and PWC and also meet with the ANC Officials, the Premier is an ex-officio to the Officials. The PWC meets as per constitutional requirement, they deal with urgent issues between PEC meetings and implement the decisions of the PEC. The PWC has now eight members and they have decided not to co-opt because they are preparing for the provincial conference.

PEC members have been deployed to regions, there are policy sub-committees that are all functioning and have programmes. They have been involved in the work of mass mobilisation more especially during elections. Six regions have been launched out of seven, only two are in good standing and others are due for conferences.

One Comrade resigned from the PEC due to family commitments, women have taken interest to Women’s League programmes and they have expanded their network with different sectors. They have co-opted two comrades to the PEC to reflect racial and geographic spread, they have mobilised women through Women’s Assemblies that took place in all regions. They also organised pre-meetings for the launch of the Progressive Women’s movement of South Africa. As part of the celebrations of the 50th Anniversary, they had regional Women’s Imbizo Summits, which culminated to the provincial Women’s Economic Summit.

They worked in partnership with Umhlobo Wenene radio station and Zwelonke to address the issues of women and they were addressed by the ANC Women’s League President in this event. There was a women’s march and a women’s parliament.

The PEC is responsible for the Hannover Farm, which has been vandalised and Malibongwe Development Institute, which is currently rented by a construction company.

The province relates well with the ANC and their relationship is based on programmatic areas and other issues such as deployment of women to senior positions, submission to provincial lists, financial assistance etc. They relate well with the alliance partners and they have had a successful Alliance Summit, which came up with a common programme of action.

Women are deployed in strategic positions in the provincial legislature and local government. This province has worked its way up, in the 2003 Conference they were very weak, but now their organizational work, political work and membership have improved tremendously.


The PEC was elected in December 2003. During their term of office, they have been involved in elections work and most important historic events.

Their Secretary Comrade Elizabeth Manzini was affected by the re-demarcation process and is now residing in Mpumalanga, the province has since appointed Comrade Rachel Modipa as its Acting Secretary. Due to the unavailability of the provincial Treasurer, she has been relieved of her duties, Comrades Beauty Mohlala and Nomsa Kubayi were also affected by demarcation. They also co-opted some comrades to the PEC.

The ANC Women’s League provides leadership and direction in the province in all women sectors, they meet monthly and have launched Imvuselelo campaign in all the regions. The President of the ANC Women’s League, addressed their Women’s Assembly in Capricorn and the Women’s Assemblies assisted them to strengthen the organisation.

The PWC meets fortnightly, the PWC has also visited all regions for strengthening the organization, monitor the work of the branches and regions.

Officials meet, and due to continuous absence of some officials, it has been difficult for officials to quorate.

The PEC policy sub-committees have been formed and are not functioning as expected. PEC members have been deployed to regions though some do not help regions and comrades who do not honour their work have been reprimanded by the PEC.

Regions are functional and do participate in both national and provincial programmes. Term of office of four regions has expired. The province is busy with the mobilisation and recruitment of members, most regions are active and have been mobilising women around the issues of no violence against women.

They also work in partnership with other stakeholders on the issues of 16 days of activism. They were able to conduct workshops for ward councillors and later proportional councillors.

Women have also had workshops on HIV and AIDS, Cancer, Women and Legislation, Protection order, Prevention of family violence, Maintenance Act and Customary Marriages Act.

The Province has implemented a programme of action to fight for women’s emancipation and gender equality, they have ensured that there is gender equality in all spheres of life, such as Government and ANC structures. They have also ensured that leadership is empowered and developed politically through provincial and regional Makgotlas, where there would be a battle of ideas.

They have also had workshops targeting young women as the basis for preparing to launch the young women’s desk.

Their Major activity in 2006 was the unveiling of the tombstone of Madinoge and they have cleaned the graves of veterans, they have also had a rally to honour Charlotte Maxeke, the First President of the ANC Women’s League.

They are involved in the process of building a strong women’s movement and they have mobilised all regions through meetings. They have created good relationship with SAWIMA which has assisted them with the understanding of how women can be empowered economically.

They have had dinner to raise funds for the financial sustainability of the province. This has enabled them to buy office equipment and the organizational van.

They relate well with the ANC and some women in the Women’s League PEC and NEC serve in the ANC PEC in the province and that has worked to their advantage as the ANC gives them support more particularly financially. They also relate well with the ANC Youth League.

They have good relations with Alliance partners and they work together to prepare for the launch of the Progressive Women’s Movement of South Africa, they attend workshops together and participate in political education schools so as to sharpen the political understanding of the members of the ANC Women’s League.


The provincial conference took place in August 2003. Their assessment of branches is that, they only become strong during conferences and elections. There is no qualitative growth in branches, they do not hold Branch Executive Committee meetings and branch general meetings and do not have sustainable programmes. They also do not participate in civil society structures.

Some do engage in ongoing political education and some participate in Provincial Executive Committee and National Executive Committees programmes.

They have held PEC Makgotla so as to come up with the provincial programme of action and they have developed a programme of action to respond to their challenges.

They relate well with the ANC and the ANC Youth League, though they face challenges with regards to regional programmes.

The positive aspect of this is that these do not affect the ideological work of the movement.

They have also extended the base of the ANC, through networking with wives of chiefs (Bahumagadi), women in business who have in turn assisted them to start projects working together with development and skills SETA.

The ANC Women’s League played an important role in establishing a SAWID forum with the province and regions and they have also launched SAWID.

They have a social relationship with the faith-based organizations and are actively involved in the preparations for the launch of the progressive Women’s Movement of South Africa in the province.

Challenges faced by the province are;

  • Suspension of the provincial secretary
  • Lack of participation of the deputy chairperson due to ill health
  • Non functionality of the PEC subcommittees

The province has responded to this through the co-option of Comrade Lorna Maloney to the office of the chairperson and Comrade Violet Meruti to the office of the provincial secretary. More or other comrades were co-opted to strengthen the PEC.

They have embarked on a number of campaigns i.e. strengthening of the ANC Women’s League through the unveiling of the tombstones of the late Steve Segalle and John Mosupye, they have also worked in partnership with the Northern cape for the unveiling of the tombstone of our late heroine Frances Baard.

They have had marches to fight racism on farms, support families of missing children, land, laying of wreaths on tombstones of comrades who fell during the collapse of the Bophuthatshwana regime.

They were part of the organizing team together with Gauteng on the “Find Constable Rasuge Campaign”, organized memorials services for Comrade Adelaide Tambo in various areas of the province as well contributed in the Cuban Five International Campaign.



Rule 21 of our Constitution stipulates that we are an integral part of the ANC, but autonomous in terms of conduct of our affairs, administration and conduct of our resources.

Our organs have to cooperate with the ANC at all levels and we have to be represented in all organs of the ANC. We have had three meetings with the Officials of the ANC since our election to office to discuss our programme of Action and human as well as financial resources.

Our relationship should mainly be based on integrated implementation of our programmes.

The Women’s League has always taken a leading role in the campaigns of the ANC more especially on campaigns to fight gender discrimination, fighting for human rights as well as election campaigns.

During the past years the ANC Women’s League has been affected by problems of the ANC. In response to these problems the ANC Women’s League has ensured that there is unity within its ranks, we are of the understanding that unity and cohesion of the movement is paramount and it is the responsibility of all our members to ensure that there is unity.

Even when the issues of the Deputy President came up, we followed the decision of the ANC to support him on the corruption trial, we accepted the decision of the court without any reservations. On the rape case which was very much testing for us because it was about our existence, we tried our best to give direction on this case though it was difficult.


Both the ANC Women’s League and Youth League are an integral part of the ANC with a long history of the struggle that links them.

We have agreed as the Women’s League that our relationship should be based on programmes.
The 2003 ANC WL Conference resolved that:
“There is an urgent need for the ANCWL to recruit and develop young women and create space for them to play an active part in the life of the organization including at leadership level”
After the Conference, we held a Lekgotla where we decided that we must form a young women’s desk in the ANC WL.
We have formed a committee that has the Youth League, Young Communist League, South African Student’s Congress and COSAS in preparation for the launch of the young women’s desk.
We hope to launch the desk nationally in June 2007, and thereafter we will focus on provinces and regions.


The ANC Women’s League and gender desks of Congress of the South African Trade Union (COSATU), South African Communist Party (SACP) and the South African National Civic Organization (SANCO) continue to have a healthy and productive relationship.

We have had bilaterals and Alliance meetings to discuss mainly the Progressive Women’s Movement of South Africa (PWM/SA) and our role in PWM/SA. We have worked together in campaigns of no violence against women, the “find Constable Rasuge campaign” and the “save the life of Amina Lawal campaign” and there is more room for improvement in other common areas of interest, we have a greater opportunity of working together in advancing the work of ensuring a better life for all in the fight against poverty and unemployment.

We have also tried to deal with challenges in an open and frank manner where there have been issues of contestation.

We need to ensure that this relationship exists at all levels and that it functions well. We also need to ensure that there are coherent programmes that will be led by the ANC Women’s League as the leader of the Alliance.


We have strong relations with other women’s organizations from various sectors such as faith-based organizations, NGOs, CBOs, businesswomen, and professional women. Women with disabilities, rural women’s movement etc. These organizations have always looked at the Women’s League as their leader.

We have played a very important role in mobilizing women to join forces and unite in the fight against gender inequality and patriarchy.


The first challenge facing the Women’s League is lack of full-time leadership at all levels, at Head Quarters it is only the Secretary General that is full-time and in provinces, provincial secretaries are not full-time.

This has contributed towards a very poor and weak organization in terms of human resources, when we took a decision of allowing our secretaries not to be full-time we had agreed that they must at least be in provincial offices once a week, preferably on Mondays because those are ANC days. It remains a challenge to balance our work as elected leaders of the organization and as public representatives; comrades should avoid standing for leadership positions and provide leadership through consistent apologies to meetings of the Women’s League and other organizational deployments.

What is important is that a branch remains the basic unit of the organization and from whatever point comrades join or renew their membership. The branch should remain the basic unit of the ANC Women’s League.

Our branches must be enabled to meet the new challenges under a democratic society. Members must invest time, energy and resources to grass-roots structures. There must be constant communication between branches and the masses. To have an effective branch we must have dynamic, dedicated, disciplined and united local leadership. Its membership must be politically conscious and active, it must relate well with the ANC, Youth League and other local structures, have an implementable programme of action, have support from the regional , provincial and national leadership.

Proper procedures need to be followed when we recruit members to the ANC Women’s League. Membership should also reflect that we have bigger branches because ward based branches have created a wider space for membership.

The problems we have encountered in the system make it impossible to monitor the constitutional requirement of the number of years that a member should serve in the ANCWL before standing for any position. Branches must follow proper procedures of recruitment so that we can be able to deal with the challenges of membership. Branches must keep their own register of membership, keep it with branch records and check membership timeously so as to be able make a follow up when members are to renew their membership.

We also need to reflect on our recruitment strategy, our membership always rises when we prepare for annual general meetings, regional conferences and national conferences

We must be able to recruit to our ranks women from different sectors and racial groups, young women are the future of the Women’s League. They need to be developed properly within the ranks of the Women’s League. We must also give them space to unleash their energy and help us to understand the challenges they face. The Women’s League is a political home for all women who are ANC members and it is politically correct to ensure that it also becomes a home for young women. The capacity to reach out to young women and mobilize them depends on;

  • Designing a desk that will focus on young women as per our conference resolution.
  • We also need to ensure that all our structures include young women, policy subcommittees must ensure that their programmes attract young women.
  • Our campaigns should also prioritise young women. The ANC Women’s League must also try and recruit young women from other sectors and racial groups.

Since the Rustenburg Conference in 1997, wherein the Women’s League had committed to the formation of a young women’s desk; we are yet to implement this Resolution; we have to implement this resolution as soon as possible more especially because challenges facing young women are growing.

We need to develop a programme that will focus on empowering our members and other women in the ANC. This will enable us to build capacity in our branches, regions, provinces and nationally. We need to ensure that all structures that hold conferences are inducted and resources must be raised so that we can be better placed to deal with this challenge.

There must also be political education classes that will empower our members with tools of analysis. Women in leadership positions must strive to gain accurate and scientific understanding of strategic needs and challenges for organizing women. This will help us to intensify cadreship development and ideological work. This will assist us to sharpen and deepen the political understanding of our members.

We need to be able to provide direction, ensure hegemony and occupy moral high ground as our president, Comrade Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said when she gave the line of march in her acceptance speech in August 2003.

Giving leadership must start from branch level and all branches of the Women’s League must serve as the heart beat of the society. Our members must continue serving in organs of popular mobilization. Women must continue serving in community policing forums, schools governing bodies, health committees, development committees etc. to ensure that all community issues are attended to. These provide our leadership with the opportunity to direct development processes at a community level, participate in governance work, make a decisive in-put to the IDP process.

We must ensure that we develop leaders organically within the organization, women must not only give leadership to the Women’s League when there are events and comrades we elect as leaders must earn leadership and must work for that.

We need to fight for women’s emancipation and gender equality in a more focused way. We have to provide space for the debate on gender relations and patriarchy. We need to fight the demon of patriarchy. Patriarchy assumes different faces but our experiences of patriarchy are not the same some experience it through class, race, status, religion, ethnic, and cultural background. That is why it is important to link our struggles for women’s emancipation to the National Democratic Revolution. That will help us to do focused ideological work among ANC members with the aim of changing the patriarchal mindset and practices and deepen theoretical, ideological clarity and practical commitment to genuine equality between men and women.

The advances of 50/50% representation of women in decision-making bodies can only be sustained through systematic political education and development programmes attended by both men and women. We need to ensure that in the coming conference of the ANC 50/50% representation of women clause is entrenched in the ANC Constitution. The call for women’s representation in all spheres of life such as the private sector, we also need to strengthen gender representation through upward mobility so that all sectors can have women to support programmes of women in all levels of management, this will go a long way in ensuring that women’s programmes get full support of the boards and public enterprises

We need to come up with clear guidelines of how this is going to be implemented, the Women’s League must discuss how it is going to create a support base for all women put in these structures; we must also discuss our readiness for this kind of responsibility.

Political education department and the Policy Institute must be seized with the following two important responsibilities;

  • To develop a curriculum for women and men and train them on gender and power relations
  • Must develop the Women’s League leadership and ensure that they give leadership on gender issues in the public discourse, monitor and evaluate implementation of policy in government.

We also need to build institutional and organizational capacity, our staff component must be able to deal with organizational as well as governmental work. The Women’s League must also develop its capacity and be self reliant so as to be able to play its vanguard role in the struggle for women’s emancipation.



Ray Simons, born Rachel Alexandrowich in 1913 in Latvia, became active in the underground Latvian Communist Party while still a teenager. She arrived in South Africa on 06 November 1929, and joined the Communist Party of South Africa on 11 November, five days after her arrival. She was involved in all facets of the Party’s work, and after being dismissed from a job for attending the founding conference of the Anti-Fascist League, became increasingly involved with the trade union activity. She helped organise workers in many different trades, but the union which became synonymous with her name was the Food and Canning Workers Union (FCWU).

Founded in 1941, the FCWU spread through the fruit canning industry of the Boland and up the West Coast among the fishing communities. It recruited black and white, men and women, and earned the reputation of being both effective and militant. In the 1950s it played a leading role in the South African Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU). Ray wrote a regular column on trade union matters in the Guardian, a newspaper affiliated to the Communist Party of South Africa. In 1953 she was served with the first of a series of banning orders.

In April 1954, together with Helen Joseph, Lillian Ngoyi and Florence Mkhize, she helped to found the Federation of South African Women (FEDSAW), which fought for women’s rights and pioneered a Women’s Charter. In September of that year a banning order issued by Justice Minister Swart forced her to resign as general secretary of the FCWU. Another banning order, in April 1954, forced her to resign from Federation of SA Women.

Ray married Jack Simons in 1941, the day after she formed the Food and Canning Workers Union. Simons, a devoted communist, was also a powerful imparter of ideas. As a lecturer in African Studies at the University of Cape Town, he introduced generations of students to the rich textures of African law, culture and society. Simons was also banned, first in 1961, and then again in December 1964, when he was barred from lecturing.

In May 1965 Ray and Jack left South Africa and went straight to Zambia. They were to remain in exile for twenty five years. From Zambia they went to England, where Jack got a position at the Manchester University. Together they wrote “Class and Colour in South Africa”, a pioneering analysis of the relationship between class and race, and how they have shaped South Africa’s political and social landscape. They returned to Lusaka in 1967. Jack Simons lectured in the bush camps in Angola. Ray continued doing underground work with the Movement, and lectured on the position in South Africa. They were amongst the first exiles to return to South Africa in 1990. Ray and Jack had two had two daughters and a son, all living in South Africa. Jack passed away in August 1995.

At the ANC’s annual January 8th celebration in 2004, President Thabo Mbeki announced that the ANC’s highest honour, Isithwalandwe, on Ray Alexander Simons. Mbeki described Ray Simons as “an outstanding leader of our workers and people who spent her entire adult life fighting for the freedom of our people.”

Ray Alexander Simons died in Cape Town on 12 September 2004. She survived by her two daughters Mary and Tanya, and her son Jonah.


Madinthe Kate Mxakatho was born on the 13 November 1913 at Makapanstad in Hammanskraal. She was the eldest daughter of Tselane Nokhamete Mxakatho. She attended school at Nazarene Mission School and later proceeded to Kilnerton Training College. She started her teaching career at Nazarene School in Hammanskraal and thereafter proceeded to the Methodist School at the Western Native Township.

In 1953 she resigned from teaching as a protest against Bantu Education system. She became a staunch member of the African National Congress (ANC), under the leadership of Pixley ka Seme. Mama Kate served in the ANC as the Secretary of the then Transvaal Province. Under the leadership and guidance of Mama Lillian Ngoyi, she became a National Executive Committee (NEC) member of the Federation of South African Women (FESAW); she was one of the leading members who organised the 1956 historical women’s march to the Union Buildings; she was also a member of the SACP and SACTU. During the 80s she also became a member of the United Democratic Front (UDF) and Federation of Transvaal Women (FEDTRAW).

Highlights of her illustrious political career:

  • Executive Committee member of the ANC Transvaal.
  • A leading member in organising the Women’s March to Pretoria in 1956.
  • National Executive Committee member of Federation of South African Women.
  • Member of SACTU
  • One of the accused in the Treason Trial.
  • One of the organisers of the potato boycott.
  • Early 60s, she was a victim of the forced removal from Western Native Township to Moroka.
  • One of the organisers of the Alexander bus boycott with Ntate Moretsele and Robert Resha.
  • Was a recipient of the Mahatma Ghandi and the Ida Mtwana awards.

Later she worked at the Coronation Hospital and then went to private practice with Dr. Alan Wolfson. Mama was a selfless and instrumental in recruiting young people to join the ANC in exile, in the 70s and 80s; she also accommodated a group of Young Lions and other activists during the 1985/6 State of Emergency, who sought refuge from police harassment and detention. Some of her key recruits include Don Materra; Amos Masondo, the current Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg.

  • In 1976 she, together with other elderly comrades, provided guidance to the youth and students in their protest against the use of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in Black schools.
  • She was banned under Terrorism Act after the 1956 Treason Trial for several years of which she did contravene and got arrested continuously. Her long list of comrades, among others, includes Robert and Maggie Resha, the late Mom Greta Ncaphayi, the late Lillian Ngoyi, Mamoretsele, the late Ida Mtwana, Ntate Mashego Morodi, Ntate Lekoto, Reverend Motlalepule Chabaku, and MPL in the Gauteng Legislature.
p>She is survived by her sister, two daughters, a son, 19 grandchildren, 15 great grandchildren and eight great-great grand children. She will always be remembered for her strength, dedication and wisdom.

Robala kagotso Motlase o Matjolo, bagologang segodimo mampya re lape melala.


BORN: 13 JANUARY 1950 – DIED: 21 NOVEMBER 2004

Comrade Joyce Lesawana Kgoali was born to Mokete and Lydia Kgoali in Soweto on 13 January 1950. The first and the only daughter among three children, she started primary school at Hlanganani, and then proceeded to Fred Clarke School, completing her secondary education at Morris Isaacson High School in Soweto.

Comrade Joyce was thrust into politics through her involvement in the trade union movement. In 1988, she became a National Treasurer, later Deputy President and also served as chairperson of the Western branch of the South African Clothing and Textile Workers Union (SACTWU). She was also Secretary of COSATU Johannesburg Local. Comrade Joyce was a union organiser up to the advent of the first democratic Parliament of South Africa in 1994.

She offered strong strategic leadership and fiery debates on issues related to workers’ rights, broader freedom of South Africans, and in particular women’s issues. She was always prepared to wage unrelenting fights in defence of the workers – the legacy she will be remembered for.

After the first democratic elections in 1994, she was elected to serve in the Senate, the then second House of Parliament of the Republic of South Africa. She chaired the Select Committee on Housing and Public W and was later deployed to the Gauteng Legislature. In 1997 she served as a Member of Executive Council (MEC) for Transport and Public Works in the Gauteng Government.

Upon her appointment, she worked tirelessly to bring sustainable peace in the Taxi industry in Gauteng. Central to her strategy was the empowerment, training and development of women in the transport industry. She sought private sector partnerships to accomplish this mission, thus leaving footprints of her success among women in the taxi industry.

Comrade Joyce became a Member of the Gauteng Legislature (MPL) after the second democratic elections in 1999. In 2001 she rejoined the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) and became the Provincial Whip for the Gauteng delegation. In 2003 she was appointed Chairperson of Committees in the NCOP. Her other responsibilities included membership of the Select Committee on Security and Constitutional Affairs and subcommittee on Local Government and Administration, co-chairing Parliament’s subcommittee on Ethics and Member’s Interests, including the subcommittee on Members’ Support.

She served as Chairperson of the ANC Parliamentary Caucus and also as a member of the ANC’s political management committee. In the same year (2003) she was elected to the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) and then to the National Working Committee (NWC).
Comrade Joyce was appointed the Chairperson of the NCOP of the third democratic Parliament in May 2004. She was third the person to head the NCOP since its establishment in 1997.

She is survived by her four sons, Sekgalo, Moeketsi, Thabiso and Tshidiso and six grandchildren.

Adelaide TAMBO

18 July 1929 - 31 January 2007

Adelaide Frances Tambo (née Tshukudu) was born on 18 July 1929 in Top Location in Vereeniging.

Her political life started at the age of 10 after a police raid following a riot in Top Location, in which a police officer had been killed. Tambo's ailing grandfather, aged 82, was among those arrested and marched to the town square. Here the old man collapsed.

"I sat with him until he regained consciousness," Tambo recalled in an interview. "The way those young policemen pushed him around and called him 'boy' decided me. I swore I would fight them till the end."

This incident happened in 1939. At the time she was a primary school pupil at St Thomas Practising School in Johannesburg. Five years later, she started working for the ANC as a courier, while studying at Orlando High. She had joined the school's debating society "at the time Dr Malan was preaching the gospel of apartheid, which became a heated matter for most of the students. Most of the debates centred round this theme and the future that spelled doom for generations to come."

At the age of 18, Tambo joined the ANC Youth League and was almost immediately elected chairperson of the George Goch branch. Her early work involved opening branches of the Youth League in the then Transvaal. Later, as a student nurse at Pretoria General Hospital, she started a branch of the Youth League with the help of people like Sheila Musi, Mildred Kuzwayo and Nonhle Zokwe.

She met Oliver Reginald Tambo at a meeting of the Eastern township branch of the ANC and married him in December 1956, during the marathon Treason Trial.

"We were aware we were both likely to be arrested sometime. We discussed our political involvement and having children. We decided that one of us would have to do full-time political work and the other would have to work part time and take full charge of all other family matters,including supporting the old people of both families," she later said.

In 1960, after Oliver Tambo had been elected ANC Deputy President, the couple were asked by the ANC to leave the country and carry on the work of the organisation outside South Africa. Once again Adelaide Tambo became a courier - this time for her husband.

Based in London until the unbanning of the liberation movements, Tambo was a founder member of the Afro-Asian Solidarity Movement and the Pan-African Women's Organisation (PAWO). She also worked with International Defence and Aid Fund (IDAF) to identify and financially assist some of the families whose children left South Africa after 1976.

Adelaide Tambo returned with her husband to South Africa in December 1990, where they received a hero's welcome. She was elected Treasurer General of the ANC Women's League in 1993, and became an ANC Member of Parliament in the country's first democratically-elected parliament in 1994.

Oliver Tambo passed away following a massive stroke in the early hours of 23 April 1993.

Adelaide Tambo passed away in her Johannesburg home on 31 January 2007.

The couple had three children: Thembi, Dali and Tselane.




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