So Dr Makhosi Khoza is to be subjected to Rule 25 of the ANC constitution, which deals with management of organisational discipline.
Because she had the effrontery to publicly criticise President Jacob Zuma, and to call for his resignation last Tuesday at the Save SA and Ahmed Kathrada Foundation’s Conference for the Future in Gauteng. Her call evinced a standing ovation.
No sooner had her mortal sin hit the media, than she was attacked by members of her own party for speaking out.
She is a “loose canon” according to the ANC in Kwa- Zulu-Natal, guilty of “sedition”, “extreme ill-discipline” and “wrongdoing”.
But her sedition is hardly anything new. She has been speaking out for months, calling for the ANC leadership to introspect and salvage what is left of the party.
Her principled stance during the ad-hoc parliamentary committee of enquiry into the SABC, leading the charge as she did, for the board, COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng and then communications minister Faith Muthambi to be called to account, endeared her to the nation, and no doubt infuriated the Luthuli House mandarins.
And in return for speaking out, she and her daughter, get death threats.
But hang on a moment. Didn’t that other national hero, Pravin Gordhan, call for Mr Zuma to step down the same day, during a nationally televised dialogue titled The Negotiated Settlement?
And it’s not as if Mr Gordhan has been anything other than vocal in his criticism of the ANC since his firing – for the second time – as finance, minister by Mr Zuma. And, like Dr Khoza, he has spoken out on many public platforms.
He has been harshly critical of the ANC’s handling of the #GuptaLeaks debacle and the cleptocratic tendencies of so many in the party.
All we’ve had thus far from the ANC in response to Mr Gordhan’s equivalent heresy, is a loud silence. Not a peep from a soul. Nothing.
It’s as if Mr Gordhan actually never said a single critical word about the ANC or more importantly, about Mr Zuma.
A man calls for Mr Zuma to resign, and nothing happens. A woman calls for Mr Zuma to step down, and she must face charges.
What are we to conclude from this glaring contradiction?
The term “non-sexist” appears six times in the ANC constitution: twice in the preamble, once in definitions, once in Rule Two: Aims and objectives and twice in Rule Three: The character of the ANC.
It is the final use of the term which exposes the glaring contradiction inherent in the ANC’s decision to discipline Dr Khoza: “Rule 3.4 The ANC shall, in its composition and functioning, be democratic, non-racial and non-sexist and combat any form of racial, tribalistic or ethnic exclusivism or chauvinism.”
Despite this assertion, what’s good for the goose, is clearly not good for the gander.
While the ANC pays lip-service to being non-sexist in its “composition”, it most certainly is not non-sexist in its “functioning”.
Despite public protestations that the ANC is a non-sexist organisation, actions speak louder than words.
The tragic story of Khwezi and the manner in which she was vilified for coming forward and laying a rape against Mr Zuma called the ANC’s hypocrisy into stark relief.
The ANC Youth League, spearheaded by Julius Malema, came out in support of Mr Zuma.
Who could ever forget his disgraceful comment in 2009 while campaigning for Mr Zuma in Cape Town: “”When a woman didn’t enjoy it, she leaves early in the morning … In the morning, that lady requested breakfast and taxi money.”
The crowds that gathered outside the Johannesburg High Court during the trial in support of Mr Zuma, included a disconcerting number of women.
That crowd regularly attacked the integrity and moral standing of Khwezi. It yelled insults at a close friend of hers, and on one occasion threw stones at a woman that members of the crowd mistook for Khwezi.
The court acquitted Mr Zuma. Khwezi eventually fled the country and sought asylum in The Netherlands in 2007. She returned to KwaZulu-Natal and died in Durban on October 8 least year.
When four EFF members staged a silent protest in support of Khwezi at the IEC headquarters in August last year when Mr Zuma accepted the local government election results, ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) president Bathabile Dlamini was furious and demanded answers from the IEC as to how it happened.
Mr Zuma’s security detail manhandled the four protesters out of the venue once he’d left.
While registering in Nkandla for last year’s election, Mr Zuma reportedly said of women: “When men compliment you innocently, you say it’s harassment. You will miss out on good men and marriage.”
Aside from a lukewarm “there is no such thing as ‘too sensitive’ when it comes to harassment … Women must continue, if things make them uncomfortable, to report them, and make it serious to be harassed” from ANCWL spokesperson, Toko Xasa, a loud silence emanated from the rest of the ANC.
This is the same ANC that professes to be non-sexist, that platitudinously suggests the ANC is “ready for a woman president”, that unsurprisingly spits on its own constitution.