ANC Includes Openly Queer Candidates on National Candidates List


Internationally-recognised LGBTIQ+ activist Steve Letsike is one of the queer names on the ANC’s National Candidates List

For the first time, the ANC’s National Candidates List for the upcoming elections features three openly queer candidates who may well secure seats in Parliament.

Among them are Mmapaseka Steve Letsike, Eugene Manana, and Palomino Jama, described as seasoned activists in the social justice movement.

Letsike, the director of LGBTIQ+ rights group Access Chapter 2, was in January 2023 co-opted into the ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC), marking a significant milestone.

Manana and Jama, both accomplished student leaders, were recently elected as additional members of the ANC Youth League National Executive Committee.

In a Facebook post, Jama wrote: “While other African liberation movements are intensifying homophobic rhetoric and laws, while other parties domestically are using homophobic populist views to campaign, the ANC of Nelson Mandela is deliberately sending queer activists within its ranks to Parliament and legislatures.”

The ANC-aligned Embrace Diversity Movement (EDM) hailed their inclusion as a significant step towards greater queer representation in politics.

“This is a step forward, it a step towards placing the LGBTIQ+ agenda on top of government’s priority,” said EDM Secretary-General Mpho Buntse in a statement.

“We are confident that these candidates, with their leadership experience and dedication to social justice, will be a resounding voice for queer representation in the National Assembly.”

Buntse also welcomed the inclusion of Thandokazi Stefani, another member of the LGBTIQ+ community, as a candidate on the ANC’s Gauteng Provincial List.

However, he voiced disappointment that ANC bodies in other provinces failed to field queer candidates.

“We are aware that some provinces, with the exception of Gauteng, elected to not consider the clause on LGBTIQ+ representation as set out in the Nomination Guidelines by the Electoral Committee,” said Buntse.

He called on the committee to explain the shortfall in queer representation on the provincial candidates lists.

Arguably, the DA has historically fielded the most vocally out LGBTIQ+ MPs in Parliament, although the ANC appointed Lynne Brown as Minister of Public Enterprises from 2014 to 2019.

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