|31. Juli 2017
ANC MPs warned against supporting motion of no confidence
ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe has issued a warning to ANC Members of Parliament (MP) that they may be relieved of their duties in the party if they vote in favour of a motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma (to take place on August 8).
Mantashe also criticised the behaviour of MP and former Ekurhuleni Mayor Mondli Gungubele who at the weekend announced that he was prepared to vote with the opposition to ensure that Zuma was removed from his position.
Speaking at a media briefing on the outcomes of a 3-day National Executive Committee (NEC) lekgotla, Mantashe said the party maintained its position not to vote in favour of the motion and that those who acted otherwise would be showing themselves to be “free agents”.
“One of my comrades asked me over the weekend ‘what happens now if I don’t like a particular form of voting?‘“Mantashe said.
“I said ‘you are free to take a walk, because we are not a party of free agents’. If we are a party of free agents then we have no party, we may as well dissolve it. We are members of the ANC, we execute the mandate of the ANC, there’s no two ways about it”.
In an interview with the Mail & Guardian in May, Gungubele urged other MPs to put the interests of South Africans first when voting on the motion against Zuma.
His latest comments have been criticised the ANC’s Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu who referred to Gungubele’s conduct as the “worst form of ill discipline”. “We are calling on the organisation through its constitutional structures to act against the ill-disciplined behaviour of comrade Gungubele. His ill-discipline is no longer an ANC Caucus matter as it is questioning and defying decisions of the ANC as a political centre and authority,” Mthembu said in a statement.
Gungubele has joined Public Service and Administration portfolio chair Makhosi Khoza to become the second ANC MP to speak publically in support of a motion of no confidence.
Mantashe said however that the lekgotla was not preoccupied with next week’s motion of no confidence and focused predominantly on the economy. The party announced its decision to start phasing in free higher education for poor students as of next year. Academically qualifying first year students whose family income was less that R150 000 per annum would receive fully subsidized grants. Those known as the “missing middle” from families with a household income of between R150 000 – R600 000 would be subsidised through a combination of grants and affordable loans.
While the commission of inquiry into free higher education and training was yet to report back on it’s findings, Mantashe said the party could not afford to sit back and not take its own action.
On the mining sector the ANC’s economic transformation sub-committee has been tasked with developing an approach to resolve the current dispute over the Mining Charter and what the party believed to be a short-term way of dealing with the sector.
Earlier this month government suspended the implementation of the charter after the Chamber of Mines brought legal action against the proposed charter. “We are worried about this short-termism in dealing with mining. The mining industry and the minister are at each other about the charter now and everything must collapse,” Mantashe said.
“We say no, that is short term that approach. Long term is that we must deal with it holistically as an industry. Yes, finalise the mining charter, finalise the NPRDA [Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act] and do any other things, but create an environment for that industry to perform as an economic sector.”
The party also took a decision to reinstate the Regional Executive Committee (REC) of the Western Cape’s Dullah Omar region, which was disbanded in June. Four of the province’s six regions had objected to the Provincial Executive Committee’s (PEC) disbandment of the region, which is understood to be backing Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in the succession race.
“The NEC resolved that the state of the PEC must be consistently monitored with the NEC providing support to the PEC for it to ably execute its responsibilities,” Mantashe said.
“The appeal of the Regional Executive Committee of the Dullah Omar Region against their dissolution [must] be upheld and the REC re-instated. The NWC [National Working Committee] and NEC deployees will return to the Western Cape to engage structures on the way forward,” he added.
(Mail & Guardian, Johannesburg)