Former National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete believes South Africa is not psychologically ready for a female president.
Mbete was talking to SAfm’s Masechaba Ndlovu on Monday evening as the radio station celebrates powerful women during Women’s Month.
When asked if South Africa was ready for a female president 25 years into democracy, she responded: “I don’t think so, I think regrettably South Africa has proved that it is not ready psychologically.”
Mbete believed there were women who were capable of leading, but said this was overshadowed by the mindset that “women are not the type of people to lead”.
“I think there are lots of women who are ready, great and better than many male leaders, but South Africa believes women are not the type of people who must be leaders although they see them doing great things but they believe otherwise.
“It comes from men and women, unfortunately,” she said.
Both Mbete and the executive director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, have served as deputy presidents in the past.
Speaking to the SABC on May 8 shortly after casting her vote, Mlambo-Ngcuka told the broadcaster she hoped the party that won would appoint a female deputy president.
“Well, I don’t expect things to change overnight but I hope there will be momentum toward change.”
When asked: “To women in South Africa, are we likely to have a female deputy president again?”
Mlambo-Ngcuka responded by saying: “I am keeping my fingers really crossed and hope that we will have good news, so I think we should all lobby.”