ANC MPs voting with opposition for Zuma to go would be worst betrayal - Mantashe

Johannesburg - The ANC has sent its strongest warning yet that it will not tolerate dissent in the motion of no confidence vote against President Jacob Zuma.

- Read more: Could Zuma be out by next week?

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said if ANC MPs supported the motion brought forward by the Democratic Alliance and supported by other opposition parties, “it would be the highest betrayal”.

"It would be highest level of ill discipline, the highest level of betrayal, the worst," Mantashe told News24.

He said ANC members that are unhappy with Zuma should rather continue to fight from within the party.

Mantashe was responding to claims that there are a growing number of ANC MPs that will vote for Zuma to go, especially if the Constitutional Court rules that the motion can be carried through a secret ballot.

Conscience vote

Some ANC MPs have also begun speaking out, signalling that they would follow their conscience rather than the party line.

ANC MP Dr Makhosi Khoza said on her Facebook page that she will always vote for the ANC's survival, but not for an "amoral leader".

"I therefore cannot be expected to vote [for] an amoral leader whose behavioural practices liquidates the ANC at a speed faster than the spacecraft,” Khoza's post read.

- Read more: I will not vote for an amoral leader - Makhosi Khoza

Opposition parties that are a minority in Parliament have also claimed that they have spoken to enough ANC MPs to ensure the success of the motion.

“That will be the worst day of my life when ANC members follow the command of the opposition,” Mantashe said.

Organisational discipline

He said ANC members that defy the party line lack “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,” Mantashe said.

He added that there is always space to fight for Zuma to go within the ANC. The party is due to hold its National Executive Committee meeting next week, at which the motion is expected to be debated.

It will be the first NEC since Zuma's Cabinet reshuffle that saw five ministers lose their positions, including former finance minister Pravin Gordhan, who was replaced by Malusi Gigaba.

Mantashe and his deputy Jessie Duarte have already descended on the ANC caucus to warn MPs to follow the party line and vote against the motion.

'Mantashed'

"We have a duty to sort ourselves out, the horizon might be longer or shorter but it is us who have the obligation to sort ourselves out," Mantashe said.

"But what you don't do, because your father is a drunkard, is throw him to the thugs," he said.

Mantashe however also warned party 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',” he said.

"Mantashed" is a word coined on social media after Mantashe, deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa and treasurer general Zweli Mkhize had criticised Zuma's Cabinet reshuffle, but following an extended National Working Committee, Mantashe said the public criticism was a "mistake".


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