JOHANNESBURG-- African National Congress (ANC) Deputy Secretary-General Jessie Duarte has dismissed the notion that former President Jacob Zuma's participation in election campaigning might impact negatively on the ruling party's campaign in next year's national and provincial polls.

The party recalled Zuma as South African President last month, but later decided to make him part of its campaign for next year's elections.

There is a reality that President Zuma is amongst the oldest most experienced cadres who are still active in the organization and he volunteered himself to President (Cyril) Ramaphosa that he will assist in working during this campaign for the ANC to have a victory," Duarte told the media Thursday

"So the ANC does not ever throw people away, you continue to work with people if there are private matters that they are going to have to face going forward, then that is another matter altogether."

Duarte has also commented on the recent raids by the Hawks, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), saying the governing party's attitude is that where there is wrong it must be fixed. This follows Thursday's raid by the Hawks on North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo's office and the provincial finance department relating to allegations of tender irregularities by the provincial government linked to a company.

The raid comes after those on Free State Premier Ace Magashule and the Agricultural Department's offices in recent weeks. Duarte says the law enforcement agencies must do their work.

Where there is an investigation to be done whoever is being asked to co-operate do so fully. Don't pretend that the agencies don't have the right to do so; they do and they must," she added.

"The most important thing is everyone is innocent until proven guilty. And I think one of the things that are disconcerting in our country is that people are declared guilty and if by chance they are found innocent there is never an apology which is a sad reality which we face with a great deal of pain.

Earlier, Duarte paid tribute to strong women of the ANC on International Women's Day. In a round-table discussion with journalists at ANC headquarters at Luthuli House, she spoke of the strength and conviction of stalwarts such as the late Albertina Sisulu as well as former Deputy Secretary General of the party and Mkhonto weSizwe operative Thenjiwe Mthintso.

Duarte says that the emancipation of women should be the work of everyone not just women. She decried the steps backward taken within the ANC recently.

All our provincial chairs and secretaries are men. It's sad in the top six (of the ANC) now we have stepped backwards; we had made progress and now we are back to one woman and five men; and one hopes that trend is not going to become a fashion, a political fashion in the ANC where women will also be left out of the provincial leadership as we go forward."