ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe has strongly rejected Police Minister Fikile Mbalula’s call for a witch-hunt to expose ANC MPs who voted in favour of the recent no-confidence motion in President Jacob Zuma, saying Mbalula was out of line.
Mbalula, who is also an ANC national executive committee member, called for lie-detector tests to be administered to trace the party’s MPs who did not toe the party line during the no-confidence secret vote on Tuesday.
The outspoken minister tweeted that all ANC MPs should undergo a polygraph to determine who voted in favour of the motion, which was ultimately defeated with 189 to 177 votes (with nine abstentions), narrowly saving Zuma from being removed from power.
Mbalula posted on his Twitter account: “Let’s all take a lie detector. Who voted with the opposition in our ranks izolo and stop the peddling. Nice nje.”
The minister also posted a picture of a man hooked up to a lie-detector machine.
Mantashe told Saturday Citizen yesterday that if the ANC applied the method, it would be doing what the DA did with its Mogale City councillors, who were subjected to lie-detector tests after they were suspected of colluding with the opposition ANC to vote out DA mayor Michael Holenstein.
“There is no such a decision in the ANC. If Mbalula wants a lie-detector test, he must bring his suggestion to the organisation. But we can’t do what the DA did in Mogale City against its councillors.”
He warned that the minister could not make a public statement about a lie-detector test, but should rather approach the ANC, which should discuss his suggestion and decide if it was necessary or not.
“But I don’t see the ANC acting like the DA,” Mantashe said.
Mbalula’s suggestion was also rejected in a reply tweet by former tourism minister Derek Hanekom, who is one of Zuma’s critics.
Hanekom, who has since been fired by Zuma, previously proposed a no-confidence vote against Zuma at the ANC national executive meeting.
Political analyst Somadoda Fikeni said Mbalula’s suggestion went against the spirit of the Constitutional Court’s ruling on the issue of the secret ballot that MPs should not be persecuted. Fikeni said a lie-detector test would not stand up to judicial scrutiny.
“The members affected could easily go to court and win.
“Besides, they could tell the ANC that it failed to hold Zuma accountable, hence they voted to remove him from power,” Fikeni said.
According to Fikeni, the ANC wouldn’t succeed if it were to apply Mbalula’s suggestion because the MPs had the law on their side.
Fikeni’s sentiment was echoed by analyst Ralph Mathekga, who said a lie-detector test would defeat the purpose of a secret ballot.
He said Mbalula needed to understand that the principle held that secrecy was maintained even after the vote, unless people volunteered information on how they voted. – firstname.lastname@example.org