The African National Congress in KZN has doubled down on the trophy lifting saga which has confronted its provincial chairperson Sboniso Duma, saying they are in possession of a letter from Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube in which it claims she asked him to do the honours due to her height.
Economic Development MEC Duma has been widely criticised for imposing himself and undermining Dube-Ncube in lifting the Webb Ellis Cup trophy with Eben Etzebeth during the Durban leg of the Springboks national victory parade of their fourth Rugby World Cup win.
The ANC Women's League slammed Duma's behaviour as “betraying the principles of non-sexism and gender equality”, while the EFF in KZN said Duma had exposed himself that he “has no respect for woman leadership and authority”.
The DA KZN said Duma had humiliated Dube-Ncube and owed her an apology over the saga.
Speaking to SAfm on Tuesday, ANC KZN spokesperson Mafika Mndebele said “people are petty” and he made an extraordinary claim, saying it was in fact the Dube-Ncube who asked Duma to lift the trophy.
Dube-Ncube has not spoken publicly about the matter, nor has her office issued any statement to date.
“We are in possession of a letter from the Premier calling on us to close rank. The decision was a decision taken by her, she says in her letter ‘we were actually laughing about it with Cde Mthombeni (Duma) knowing very well that in size I will not be able to meet Eben Etzebeth’...
“People are petty, that is why you have heard no complaint from the premier. The decision was not undermining the premier of the province who is the head of the government. That is why the entire programme was led by the premier except for the small incident at the end,” said Mndebele.
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Duma was elected ANC KZN chairperson last year at the provincial elective conference held at the Olive Convention Centre in Durban when his Taliban faction roared to victory. He did not take up the KZN premiership which was vacated by Sihle Zikalala after he lost at the conference.
Instead, the party opted for Dube-Ncube to occupy the position and become the first woman premier in KZN.
Zikalala too, in an olive branch appointment, was appointed as Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC, but he did not stick around too long before he was re-deployed to Parliament and eventually was appointed Public Works Minister.
Mndebele doubled down on this decision, saying it was Duma who championed Dube-Ncube for the position.
“When Zikalala resigned, it was Duma that said he was unavailable as Premier. It is under Duma that KZN has its first female premier. It is under Duma that he is deputised by a female deputy chair. If you go to Cabinet, the majority are women. The ANCWL should be praising, not insulting the man,” he said.
In a strongly worded statement, the ANC Women's League deputy secretary general Dina Pule said it was deeply concerned by the “ongoing and regrettable actions” of Duma which were repeatedly undermining the authority and leadership of premier Dube-Ncube.
“These regrettable actions not only continue to undermine the authority of the premier of the province but also betray the principles of non-sexism and gender equality that are fundamental to the ANC's ideology.
“Gender equality is not just an ideal, but a fundamental principle that the ANC identifies with.
“The actions of Comrade Duma demonstrate a regrettable departure from this essential value, perpetuating harmful gender stereotypes which have no place within the ANC or in broader political discourse,” Pule said.
The ANCWL has called on Duma to desist from undermining Dube-Ncube and apologise for the events of Saturday outside the Durban City Hall.