16 - 20 APRIL 1997.


Whereas : The women of South Africa have for decades suffered under the triple oppression of race, class and gender the apartheid system;
Whereas : The women of South Africa have throughout the history struggle been part of the national liberation struggle in South Africa;
Whereas : In the course of fulfilling this historic task the women South Africa have emerged as a leading force in the struggle for national liberation and the emancipation of women;
Whereas :

The Women's League of the ANC founded in 1948 to resistance against national oppression was banned in 1960;

Rising :

To the occasion of the unbanning of the African National Congress and other democratic forces in our country;

Cognisant : Of the fact that the new situation demands that we the women of South Africa reassess our participation in the struggle for national liberation and re-organise ourselves.
Further : Recognising the need to transform the African National Congress and all its structures to achieve its aims;
And : Fully aware of the historically disadvantaged position occupied by women in our society and in our political structures;
Now : Therefore, the Women's League of the African National Congress only constituted and assembled hereby now adopts this amended constitution as at 16 April 1997 in conference, for the purpose of defining the status of women and determining their position and role in transforming South Africa into democratic, non-racial, non-sexist society;

The Women's League will remain a political organisation which will play an advocacy role for women on gender issues, in the government within the ANC and society as a whole.


The name of the organisation shall be the ANC Women's League hereafter referred to as the Women's League and in the abbreviated form ANCWL.


The aims and the objectives of the ANC Women's League shall be:

2.1 To mobilise, organise and unite South African Women to participate in the struggle for liberation of all oppressed groups;

2.2 To spearhead the objectives, policies and programmes of the ANCWL and the African National Congress, amongst women in particular, and society in general;

2.3 To spearhead the emancipation of women within the African National Congress and its structures and at all levels of government and South African Society as a whole;

2.4 To promote the all-round development of women and help in building their own confidence and to interpret their needs nationally;

2.5 To promote among and through women, national consciousness, patriotism, unity and a sense of accountability at all levels;

2.6 To promote women's participation in every sector of public life and to strive for women's participation in every office;

2.7 To combat discrimination in public and in private life and institutions and to work actively towards the dismantling of the patriarchal system, the elimination of laws, customs and structures which militate against equality and to oppose any strengthening of patriarchy;

2.8 To campaign for the adoption and implementation of affirmative action programmes to combat the legacy of past gender and race discrimination;

2.9 To campaign for an end to all forms of violence against women;

2.10 To co-operate with democratic organisations for the promotion of peace and development locally, regionally, nationally and internationally;

2.11 To campaign for a culture and recognition of women's rights as human rights.


3.1 The Women's League is based on policies and principles of the African National Congress.

3.2 Membership of the ANC Women's League is open to all women who are members of the African National Congress. The policies of the ANCWL are determined by its own membership in terms the procedures laid down in its Constitution.

3.3 The ANCWL is a democratic women's organisation, which is non-sexist and opposed to all form of discrimination and chauvinism along tribal and ethnic lines;

3.4 The ANCWL is an organisation which, while striving for maximum unity of purpose and functioning shall respect in the context of the Bill of Rights to linguistic, cultural and religious diversity of it members and the principles of freedom of speech and the free circulation of ideas as long as they do not contradict the law of equality;

3.5 The ANCWL recognises and addresses the different experiences of all women arising out of race class, ethnicity and geographical location and, at the same time, endeavours to unite all South African women;

3.6 The ANCWL recognises further the nature at intensity of the legacy of oppression of women general, and black women in particular;

3.7 The ANCWL will ensure that laws, regulations an practices at all levels of government, at nations regional and local levels are consistent with the aspirations of a united democratic non-sexist an non-racial South Africa.


4.1 Membership of the Women's League shall be open to all women members of the ANC who are 18 and above who are South African Citizens, and who undertake to carry out the decisions of the ANCWL and the ANC.

4.2 Women younger than 18 can join the Youth League and the ANC Women's League young women's desk, when it is formed.

4.3 The unit Branch shall, not later than one month accept or reject membership application. If an application is rejected. the reasons must be provided in writing.

4.4 The Women s League shall have a separate identity (describe the Logo) but retain the colours of the ANC.

4.5 Refusal of membership shall be reviewed by the next senior organ which shall make its decision for or against the application known (time frame).

4.6 Every Branch shall keep an up-to-date record of its members and regularly transmit details to all levels.



A member of the ANCWL shall have the right to:

  1. Take a full and active part in the discussion, formulation and implementation of the policies of ANCWL;
  2. Receive and impart information on all aspects the ANCWL's policies and activities;
  3. Offer constructive criticism of any member, official, decision, policy programme, activity or process and procedure of the ANCWL;
  4. Submit proposals or statements to the branch or regions or National Executive Committee through proper channels.


A member of the ANCWL shall:

  1. Belong to and take an active part in the life of her branch:
  2. Take all the necessary steps to understand and carry out the aims, objectives, policies and programmes of the ANCWL;
  3. Explain the aims. policies and programme of the ANCWL:
  4. Deepen her understanding of the social, cultural, political and economic problems of the country;
  5. Combat propaganda detrimental to the interests of the ANC and defend the policy and programmes of the ANCWL and the ANC;
  6. Fight against sexism, racism, tribalism or chauvinism, religious and all other forms of discrimination;
  7. Observe discipline, behave honestly and loyally, carry out decision of the majority and of higher bodies;
  8. Inform her branch of movement to any other area and report to the new branch secretary on arriving.
  9. Refrain from publishing and or distributing any media material without authorisation which purports to be the view of any organised grouping, faction or tendency within the ANCWL.


7.1 For purposes of ANCWL structures, the organisation shall be divided into the provinces whose areas and boundaries shall coincide with provinces of the ANC:

Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Gauteng, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, North West Province, Mpumalanga and Northern Province.

7.2 The ANCWL shall consist of the following organs:

  1. The branch AGM which shall elect the Branch Executive Committee;
  2. The Regional Conference which shall elect a REC;
  3. The Provincial Conference which shall elect a PEC;
  4. The National General Council;
  5. The National Conference which shall elect the NEC.


8.1 Every member of the ANCWL shall belong to a branch, which shall be the basic structure of the Women's League.

8.2 The branch shall:

  1. Be registered with the PEC and have a minimum of 50 members, provided that the PEC may confer special recognition, due to exceptional circumstances, that the branch can have fewer than 50 members;
  2. Meet as provided for in the rules and regulations;
  3. Be the place where members exercise their basic democratic rights to discuss and formulate policy;
  4. Be the basic unit of activity for members;
  5. Elect, at an annual branch meeting branch Executive Committee consisting of Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson, Secretary, Deputy Secretary Treasurer and other committee members consisting of not less than three and not more than ten persons;
  6. Meet at least once per month.

8.3 The branch executive committee shall:

  1. Meet as soon as possible after its election and allocate tasks and functions among its members to enable it to carry out day to day activities of the branch;
  2. Carry out the publicity and organisational work in its area in the furtherance of its policy, programme and decisions, including those of the ANC;
  3. Meet at least once per fortnight;
  4. Submit reports on its work to the branch meeting and at least each month to the Regional Executive Committee;
  5. Co-opt not more that three persons if it considers it necessary to ensure greater representativity.

8.4 The quorum for each meeting of the Branch Executive Committee shall be 50% +1 (fifty percent plus one) of the total BEC membership.


9.1 Any two or more zones within a Region or an appropriate number of branches, in the absence of zones may, for the purpose of co-ordination of activities and greater organisational efficiency, be formed into a sub-region at the instance of the REC and after consultation with the relevant zones or branches or on the application of zones or branches.

9.2 Whenever a Sub-Region has been established, the Regional Executive Committee shall ensure, at a properly convened meeting, that a Sub-Regional Committee, which shall comprise of a Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer and one representative from each zone or branch, is elected.

9.3 The Sub-regional committee shall meet at least once a month and its functions shall be similar to those of a Zone.


10.1 The provincial regions of the ANCWL shall be line with those of the ANC.

10.2 Each region shall hold a regional conference every year which shall elect the Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson, Secretary, Deputy Secretary and Treasurer and a committee of not more than ten members.

10.3 There shall be at least two regional councils meeting in the course of each year.

10.4 Additional regional council meetings may be convened by the regional executive committee or the PEC or at the request of at least one-third of the branches.

10.5 The regional executive committee shall be accountable to the PEC for its functioning.

10.6 The regional executive committee may recommend to the PEC suspension or dissolution of the BEC, Zonal Committee or Sub-Regional Committee.

10.7 The Chairperson and Secretary of each region shall be ex-officio on the PEC.


11.1 Subject to the overall guidance of the NEC, the provincial conference shall be the highest organ of the ANCWL in each province.

11.2 The provincial conference shall be held every two (2) years and if requisitioned, for good cause by at least a third of the branches in the province

11.3 The conference shall be attended by delegates chosen by all branches with representation is proportion to the paid-up membership.

11.4 Special arrangements may be made for the representation of branches in areas where the membership is low.

11.5 Members of the NEC shall attend as ex-officio members, with full voting and speaking rights.

11.6 The Provincial Conference shall receive and consider reports from the PEC, develop and carry out the policies and programmes of the ANCWL and of the ANC and implement the decisions of the Bi-annual conference and of the NEC of the ANCWL.

11.7 The Provincial Conference shall, every two years, elect the Provincial Executive Committee which shall comprise of the Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson, Provincial Secretary, Deputy Secretary, Treasurer and fifteen additional members, all of whom shall hold office for two years and shall be eligible for re-election.


12.1 The Provincial Executive Committee shall be responsible for carrying out the decisions of the Provincial Conference. The PEC and other organs of the ANCWL shall meet at least once every month.

12.2 It shall submit reports to the NEC and the Provincial Conference as often as is required on the state of the organisation and membership, the financial position of the province and any other matter as may be specified.

12.3 It shall organise, establish and service branches, zones and in the province and appoint such staff as is required, taking into account the financial constrains.

12.4 It shall have the right to co-opt up to three persons in order to ensure adequate representation of areas and interests of the province. Occasional vacancies may be filled by it, provided that a report is made to the next PEC on the co-option and filling of vacancies.


13.1 The PEC will meet immediately after conference and elect the PWC.

13.2 The PWC shall consist of the Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson, Provincial Secretary, Deputy Secretary, Treasurer and five other persons elected from among the PEC at its first meeting following the Provincial Conference.

13.3 The PWC shall be elected for a period of two years and PEC shall fill any vacancy that may arise. It shall meet at least once a week.

13.4 The PWC shall perform the functions and duties of the PEC to which it shall report.

13.5 Duties of PEC officials shall be determined by the NEC.


14.1 The Provincial General Council shall be the highest decision making body in the Province between Provincial Conferences.

14.2 It shall consist of all members of the PEC, the Chairperson, Secretary and delegates from each branch.

14.3 It shall meet at least quarterly but additional meetings shall be convened by the PEC, if requisitioned, for good cause, by at least one third of the branches in the region or at the discretion of the PEC.

14.4 The Provincial Council shall have the power to deal with any issue, subjected always to the directives and policies of National and Provincial Conference and the NEC.


15.1 The highest organ of the ANCWL, (The National Conference) shall be and provide direction, leadership to the organisation and determine the policies and programmes of the ANCWL.

15.2 In addition, the Conference shall:

  1. Have the authority to amend the Constitution;
  2. Receive and discuss the reports of the NEC which shall include the Presidential Address, the Secretary General's Report and the Treasurer General's audited balance sheet and Report;
  3. Have the right and power to review, ratify, alter or rescind any decision taken by any of the constituent bodies, or officials of the ANCWL;
  4. Have the right and power to elect or appoint any committee or commission to assign specific tasks to such a body.

15.3 The National Conference shall elect the President, Deputy President, Secretary General, Deputy Secretary General, Treasurer General and the remaining 30 of the NEC members.

15. 4 The National Conference shall be composed of:

  1. At least 90% of delegates from the branches;
  2. Delegates from branches who shall be elected, with a number of delegates proportional to the paid-up membership of each region.
  3. The number of delegates to be elected to National Conference by each province shall be determined by the NEC in proportion to the paid-up membership of each region.
  4. All retiring members of the NEC shall attend as ex-officio and full participants in the Conference and shall be nominated and voted for.
  5. The NEC may invite individuals who have made a special contribution to the struggle or who have special skills or experience to attend the conference as participatory observers.

15.5 The NEC shall appoint a conference organising committee which will circulate conference documentation in advance determine the precise procedure for the selection of delegates and arrange for the time-table for the circulation of resolutions and receipt of amendments thereof.

15.6 The NEC shall draw up standing orders for the conduct of all proceedings at the conference.

15.7 Voting on important questions shall be by secret ballot if at least one third of the delegates demand such a vote.

15.8 A Special national conference may be convened by the NEC if a requisition is received from at least two-thirds of the provinces.


At least one National General Council may be convened by the NEC, if necessary.


17.1 Powers

The National Executive Committee is the highest organ of the ANCWL between National Conferences and shall have the authority to lead the organisation, subject to the provisions of this constitution.

17.2 The National Executive Committee shall:

  1. Carry out the decisions and instructions of the National Conference;
  2. Supervise and direct the work; of the ANCWL and all its organs:
  3. Issue directives, advice and instructions to and receive reports. from Provinces, Provincial, regional and branches;
  4. Ensure that the Provincial Branch structures of  the ANCWL function effectively and democratically,
  5. Establish National or specialised committees departments, a secretariat and other organs for the efficient pursuit of the business of Women's League and carry out its aims and objectives;
  6. Produce and issue policy statements as and when it deems it necessary;
  7. Manage and administer the National and Provincial property and other assets of the ANCWL.

17.3 The National Executive Committee. except where otherwise stipulated, shall be elected by secret ballot by the National Conference and shall hold office for three years and shall be constituted as follows:

  1. The President, Deputy President, Secretary General, Deputy Secretary, Treasurer;
  2. Thirty other members.
  3. The chairperson and secretary of each elected ANCWL Provincial executive committee shall be ex-officio members of the NEC, provided that they shall serve on the NEC for the period they hold their Provincial offices;

17.4 The NEC shall have the power to co-opt not or more than three additional members at any time during its term of office, provided that such co-option enjoys the support of the PEC of the region where such a person is a member;

17.5 Should a vacancy occur on the NEC for any reason, the NEC shall have the power to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the period of office until the National Conference, and to consult the Provincial Executive Committees before any such vacancies are filled.

17.6 Before each National Conference, the NEC shall appoint an electoral Commission whose tasks will be to:

  1. Organise, supervise and conduct the election for the NEC and make provision for secret voting;
  2. Establish procedures for voting, to determine any dispute in regard to the election and election procedures and determine how any tied vote should be resolved.

17.7 Nominations for the posts of national officers and elected members of the NEC may be made by any region and placed before National Conference. Such nominations may be made in advance of the Conference in which case they shall be circulated to delegates prior to or at the beginning of the Conference.

17.8 A province, represented at a conference, shall however have the right to nominate any person whose name has not been proposed in terms of the above. In such an event, the presiding officer shall call for a seconder. If such nomination is seconded by another region, the name of the nominee shall be placed on the ballot paper.

17.9 The procedure for taking nominations from the floor and referred to 15.7 above shall be initiated as soon as possible after the President's Address.


18.1 At its meeting following its election by the National Conference, the NEC shall elect a National Working Committee (NWC) whose term of office will be concurrent with the NEC i.e. three years.

18.2 The NWC shall comprise of five office bearers and ten other members elected by the NEC and shall meet at least twice a month.

18.3 The NWC shall:

  1. supervise the work of the ANCWL;
  2. carry out the decisions and instructions of the National Conference and the NEC and Provinces, Regions and branches;
  3. implement the decisions of the ANCWL.

18.4 The NWC shall conduct the business of the ANCWL and submit a report to every NEC meeting on its work. The NWC may employ such staff as are necessary for the work of the ANCWL.


19.1 The President:

The President is the head and chief directing office of the ANCWL and the leader of the house in a National Conference. She shall:

  1. Present to the National Conference a comprehensive statement of the state of the nation and the political situation generally;
  2. Make pronouncements for and on behalf of the NEC outlining and explaining the policy or attitude of the ANCWL on any question;
  3. Preside over meetings of the NEC in conformity with the Constitution by law and rules of procedure adopted by the NEC;
  4. Under the overall supervision of the NEC, orientates the activities of the organs and committees of the ANCWL.

19.2 Deputy President

The Deputy President shall assist the President, deputise for her when necessary and carry out whatever functions entrusted to her by the National Conference, President and the NEC.

19.3 The Secretary General

The Secretary General is the chief administrative officer of the ANCWL. She shall:

  1. Keep the minutes of the National Conference and the NEC, as well as other records of the ANCWL;
  2. Conduct the correspondence of the NEC and send out notices of all conferences and meetings at the national level;
  3. Convey the decisions and instructions of the National Conference and the NEC to the provincial committees, and see to it that all units of the ANCWL carry out their duties satisfactorily;
  4. Prepare reports on the work of the NEC and such other documents which from time to time may be required by the NEC;
  5. In the absence of the President or Deputy President the Secretary General shall assume the functions of the President;
  6. Ensure that all departments, save those failing directly under the President, report on their activities to her;
  7. The Secretary General shall be the full time functionary of the ANCWL with remunerations and benefits equal to those of the Secretary General of the ANC.

l 9.4 Deputy Secretary

The Deputy Secretary shall assist the General Secretary, deputise for the Secretary General when necessary and carry out the functions entrusted to her by the National Conference and the NEC.

19.5 Treasurer General

The Treasurer General is the chief custodian of the funds, property and assets of the ANCWL. Any three or more branches within a region may:

  1. Receive and bank all monies on behalf of the NEC and shall, together with any four members of the NEC operate a banking account;
  2. Keep such books of account as may be necessary to record clearly the financial position of the ANCWL;
  3. Submit to the National Conference a report showing the Income and Expenditure Account and Balance Sheet of the ANCWL for the period since the previous National Conference (which shall be independently audited) and shall submit periodic reports to the NEC;
  4. Be responsible, with the NEC and any other committee established, for working out and executing strategies for fundraising.


20.1 The Women's League is an integral part of the African National Congress and is part of its mobilising machinery.

20.2 The Women's League is, however, autonomous in the conduct of its affairs and in the administration and control of its resources.

20.3 The Women's League has specific tasks of advocating and campaigning for equality, integration and development of women in all areas. It is, therefore, firmly committed and adheres to the policies and programmes of the ANC.

20.4 All the organs of the Women's League shall closely co-operate with the National Executive Committee and National Working Committee of the ANC, the NEC's National Commission for the Emancipation of Women and Gender Equality, including the ANC departments and structures on all issues affecting women.

20.5 The ANCWL shall receive an annual budget, together with the supplementary grants for specific projects and tasks from the office of the Treasurer General of the ANC. The books of account of the ANCWL shall be open for inspection by the Treasurer General of the ANC.


21.1 Disciplinary Proceedings shall be confined to violation of the basis principles and rules of the

ANCWL and the ANC. Such proceedings shall not be used as a means of stifling debates or denying members their basic rights neither will they be means to suppress members, or interfere with their private life.

21.2 Proceedings shall normally be conducted at levels where the alleged violation has taken place, namely the branch, regional or national levels, and shall be heard by the relevant structure, without prejudice to the right of the NEC to initiate such proceedings at any time.

21.3 Any person to appear for disciplinary proceedings shall have the right to receive reasonable notice of any hearing and of the basic allegation against her. She shall be afforded a reasonable opportunity to prepare and present her defence.

21.4 Any person adversely affected by the outcome of any hearing have the right to have a matter reviewed by the appellate or review committee set up by the NEC.

21.5 In addition to misconduct which directly violated the norms of the ANC and ANCWL, any abuse of office, corruption, harassment or misappropriation of funds shall give use to proceedings.

21.6 Proceedings may also be brought against members who behave in a disgraceful way which brings the organisation into disrepute or manifest a flagrant violation of the moral integrity expected of members.

21.7 Penalties for the proven violation of the constitution, principles, norms and decisions of the ANC and the ANCWL shall include counselling, reprimand, apology, demotion, suspension, payment of compensation, the performance of useful tasks or expulsion.

21.8 The NEC, on the proposal of the NWC, shall establish a National Disciplinary Committee which shall have the right to initiate disciplinary proceedings against members in serious cases.

21.9 The National Disciplinary Committee shall have a minimum of five and a maximum of seven members and shall decide by majority vote, with the chairperson having a casting vote. The Committee shall serve for a period of three years, with vacancies being filled by the NWC.

21.10 An appeal from the National Disciplinary Committee shall lie with the NEC, whose decision shall be final and binding.


22.1 Every member of the ANCWL shall duly pay the appropriate subscription which shall be fixed by the Conference, on joining the ANCWL and shall continue to do so on the annual renewal of her membership. Membership records shall be kept by the branch, region, province and transmitted to the National Office, where a central register of members shall be kept.

22.1 A paid-up member, for the purpose of this constitution, is a member who has paid the required annual subscription within the previous twelve calendar month, the paid money having been received by the national office.


23.1 The NEC shall have the power to adopt rules and regulations to facilitate better management of the activities of the ANCWL.

23.2 The PEC shall have the power to adopt rules and regulations for better functioning of the ANCWL in their respective regions.

23.3 All such rules and regulations shall be consistent with the constitutional norms of the ANCWL. Rules and regulations framed by the PEC shall only become operative when approved by the NEC.

23.4 The NEC shall have the power to frame a Code of Conduct for all structures, officials, office bearers and members of the ANCWL.


24.1 Any amendments to this Constitution shall be by two-third majority vote at the National Conference or at a special convened conference.

24.2 Notice of intent to propose any amendments the conference should be forwarded to the office of the Secretary General at least two months before such a conference, and proposed am meets circulated to regions at least one month before the conference.


The National Conference or any Special Conference may dissolve the organisation by two-third majority of delegates present and voting and transfer the assets and liabilities of the movement in such a manner as determined by Conference.

Signed by: ............................................. ...............................................

N.W. Madikizela-Mandela

Bathabile Dlamini


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