ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe has reportedly sent the ruling party’s strongest warning yet to its MPs who plan to vote with opposition parties in the upcoming vote of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma.
In an interview with News24, Mantashe said it would be the highest betrayal to vote to remove Zuma in the motion tabled by the DA following his midnight Cabinet reshuffle on March 30. He said ANC MPs disaffected with the president should rather continue to fight from within the party’s structures.
“It would be highest level of ill-discipline, the highest level of betrayal, the worst,” Mantashe was quoted as saying.
On Monday, the Constitutional Court heard oral arguments in an application brought by the United Democratic Front supported by opposition parties and civil society organisations to compel parliament to conduct the vote by way of a secret ballot in order to allow ANC MPs to vote in the motion with their conscience.
Mantashe said if the party’s MPs were persuaded by opposition parties to remove Zuma from power, it would be “the worst day of my life”.
He told the news website ANC MPs who defied the governing party lacked “organisational discipline”.
“The most important characteristic of organisational discipline, is the ability to suppress your emotional feeling, if you can’t suppress your emotional feeling, we can’t talk organisational discipline of any sorts,” he said.
The ANC’s highest decision-making body between conferences, the national executive committee (NEC), will meet next week, and the motion is expected to be debated, according to the report.
Mantashe also warned NEC members to accept defeat if they lose the debate within the party.
“When they fight in the ANC there is always a chance of losing a debate, and that is what you must build into the system. That you put [forward] issues, you lose a debate, and when you lose that debate, they shout you have ‘Mantashed’ [changed your position or stance on an issue],” he said.