The ANC Women's League seems to be focused on quotas and succession debates rather than working on the ground, SA Communist Party General Secretary Blade Nzimande said on Wednesday.
"The ANCWL is possibly weaker than it has been in the past twenty years," Nzimande told those gathered at the party's special national congress at the University of Johannesburg's Soweto campus.
"It appears to be narrowly focused on slates and quotas, and succession debates, on an elite "game of thrones" in the run up to the ANC national elective conference still relatively far away in 2017."
Its members needed to be on the ground mobilising women in rural areas and townships instead, he said.
"We need the women's league in our rural towns, let's mobilise them and strengthen them there because women are the ones who are leading a degree of social cohesion and household sustainability in the most trying circumstances."
In KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, the majority of SACP members were women, he said.
"But let's also see that in the leadership structures."
The party would discuss how women's participation in the party could be deepened, he said.
"The struggle to transform gender relations between women and men, is a struggle for both. But we cannot decisively take forward the struggle for transforming gender relations without the strong organisation of women."
The party did not have a women's league and it was calling for one, but wanted women to be active participants, he said.
After almost two years of delays, the embattled ANCWL has still not managed to set a date for its elective congress.
The women's league is said to be plagued by factionalism and infighting, forcing the ANC to step in to sort things out.
It has struggled to hold its elective conference since 2013, when it was originally meant to happen.
Their last elective conference was in 2008. A term lasts for five years.
The ANCWL, however, has to hold the conference before the ANC's national general council in October.