The resignation of EFF MPs Tebogo Mokwele and Nkagisang Mokgosi in the wake of revelations that they received funds from President Cyril Ramaphosa’s campaign has stirred up questions around whether women are held to higher moral standards than their male counterparts in political circles.
This debate arose after EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu praised Mokwele and Mokgosi for their speedy resignation, calling it a demonstration of “superior levels of political discipline”.
According to Shivambu, the pair “accepted their objective and subjective wrongdoing and stepped aside for the sake of the organisation”.
ANC Women’s League president Bathabile Dlamini, however, seemed to take offence over Shivambu’s sentiments and called him out.
Dlamini said, contrary to Shivambu’s conclusions, the resignations were “another example of gender double standards”.
“As always, it is easy to remove women from positions of power and influence. Shame on you,” said Dlamini in a strongly worded tweet.
EFF MP Naledi Chirwa, however, came to her leader’s defence saying being a woman was “not a license to loot and be dishonest”, especially for those who are public representatives.
“I understand why it would be hard for you to believe and understand this on principle when it has been used as a defence for yourself,” responded Chirwa to Dlamini’s tweet.
The MPs tendered in their similarly worded resignation letters on Monday after bank statements from the CR17 campaign published over the weekend showed that the two had received sizable amounts from the campaign.
In their resignation letters, Mokwele and Mokgosi revealed that they each received a total of R80 000 between 2017 and this year.
The latter states that the money was for “a personal situation”, while it was earlier revealed by the EFF that the money given to Mokwele by the campaign was for “funeral costs”.
The glaring similarities between the two MPs’ resignation letters have left the public questioning whether they willingly stepped down or if they were pushed out.
The statements, which were issued on Monday night, said that besides doing the honourable thing and stepping down, the pair would also not stand for election to any party leadership position – in Mokwele’s case for the next five years, while Mokgosi said “for the foreseeable future”.
They both say they have tainted the image of the EFF by accepting money from “the enemy camp”, and both conclude by thanking the party and wishing the EFF well going forward.
The EFF has since released a statement saying it has received the resignation of both Mokwele and Mokgosi “with great disenchantment.”
Although applauding “their confession and the consequent taking of responsibility” the party lamented their exit saying, “the revolution and the organization has suffered a great loss of talent and hard working women cadres.”
The party, however, said “the manner” in which the pair has accepted blame and taken responsibility, leaves the image of the EFF in an even stronger position.”
City Press attempted to get comments from the two former MPs but had not received any correspondence from them by the time of publishing.