PETER DUBE in Pretoria.Three African National Congress (ANC) legislators who have publicly admitted to voting with the opposition in the no-confidence motion against President Jacob Zuma face disciplinary action.
About 35 MPs from the ruling party supported the motion in a secret ballot that sought the removal of President Zuma from office in parliament last week.
The motion was however unsuccessful after it failed to get enough votes.
The ANC secretary-general, Gwede Mantashe, said on Tuesday that the party would punish defectors.
“Three of them have confirmed they voted with the opposition. We will have to deal with that situation because if we don’t we will destroy the essence of being an organisation,” he said.
“We are not going to have lie detectors, but if they come out and say: ‘Yes, I voted with the opposition’, you are no longer following your own conscience, but you are daring your own party,” Mr Mantashe added.
It has since emerged that the decision to discipline the ANC dissenters was taken at a meeting of the party’s national working committee on Monday. A day earlier, President Zuma had called on ANC to identify and punish those who voted against him.
Among those that are seen to be the likely targets for disciplinary action include former Finance minister Pravin Gordhan, and outspoken MPs Makhosi Khoza and Mondli Gungubele. The three had repeatedly backed calls to vote in favour of the motion, saying they would cast their ballots with their conscience.
Party insiders are also said to be seeking the removal of the disciplinary committee chairperson, former Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom who is also suspected to have voted with the opposition. The party said his “tweets put him in a difficult position to chair a disciplinary process”.
On the day of the vote, August 8, Mr Hanekom tweeted: “Dispel the notion of voting with the opposition. We must vote against state capture, massive looting and corruption. Vote for change.”
President Zuma, whose eight years in power have been dogged by corruption scandals, is scheduled to address a parliamentary caucus next week.
He survived his eighth motion of no-confidence in him, in which 177 MPs voted in favour, while 198 were against it.