The African National Congress Women’s League (ANCWL) says it believes that the party is victimising suspended Ethekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede for being female.

Hundreds of league members marched to the ANC’s provincial offices in Durban on Thursday to demand Gumede’s reinstatement and the suspension of the metro’s municipal manager Sipho Nzuza.

They allege that Nzuza had signed off on a R208 million waste removal tender that was illegally awarded Durban Solid Waste.

Gumede was asked to take 30-day leave of absence in June after appearing in the Durban Commercial Crimes Court on fraud and corruption charges relating to the tender.

She was granted bail of R50 000.

“She was forced to take a leave of absence whereas there are some other comrades who were charged and some cases were withdrawn and others were charged with murder, but they are re-instated. They have never been asked to take a leave of absence. Why are they doing this? Is it because she’s a woman? And what makes us feel very bad is that Comrade Gumede has worked very hard to be in all these positions, yet now they are doing this to her,” says Women’s League’s Regional Executive Committee member in eThekwini, Nokuthula Maphumulo.

Maphumulo added that they want patriarchy in the ANC to end.

“When it comes to the counterparts – men – they are not treated the same way as the women. Yet, the Women’s League are the people who do the ground work when it comes to door-to-door in elections and elect those comrades to a high position. This thing happens even in national Parliament where our president cut Bathabile Dlamini who resigned from Parliament, bullied by the men within our organisation. We have never been protected like the male counterparts, who have been protected and have been charged. But they are still there working in their positions.”