The African National Congress Women’s League (ANCWL) uniform cannot be worn to events held in support of ANC presidential candidate Cyril Ramaphosa, the league in Limpopo said on Tuesday.
"The green and black regalia of the women’s league is holy and very revolutionary and hence should be worn with the blessing of the leadership," Limpopo ANCWL spokesperson Christina Mohale said in a statement.
Some members of the league were apparently at a congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) rally in Seshego, Polokwane, on Sunday, at which the trade union federation expressed support for Ramaphosa.
The ANCWL had endorsed Ramaphosa’s rival, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, to take over from ANC president Jacob Zuma at the party’s elective conference in December.
A banner with the words "ANC Women's League Vhembe supports Cyril Ramaphosa" was displayed at the rally. A photo of this was shared on social media. Twitter users said it showed cracks in the ANCWL’s campaign for Dlamini-Zuma. One user said it showed ANCWL president Bathabile Dlamini had "smallernyana problems".
Mohale said the women who displayed the banner were "political amateurish" (sic).
"A group of thugs parading as women’s league desperately wanted to cause confusion."
While league members could attend Cosatu events, they should wear red to these, she said.
The province stood by the ANCWL national executive committee’s decision to support Dlamini-Zuma.
However, at least three ANCWL members who spoke to News24 on condition of anonymity said the decision to support Dlamini-Zuma was imposed on them. They now fear that anyone who defies the instruction will be targeted.
"What is happening in the league is simply dictatorship," said one source.
Cosatu in Limpopo said it was outraged by the "rantings and ravings of this little and petty political cult within the ANC".
"Backward and rabid misogynists could not have done a better job," Cosatu provincial secretary Gerald Mkhomazi said in a statement. He was referring to the league calling the alleged dissenters thugs.
He challenged Dlamini-Zuma to call them to order.
"We shall continue to help and support the ANC out of its political gridlock and support the struggle for the emancipation of women.”