Cape Town - The African National Congress in Parliament will follow the party line and vote against the motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma, the ANC chief whip has said.
And the ANC caucus did not need to be threatened to do this, chief whip Jackson Mthembu said, as they never deviated from the party line.
This after ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe warned ANC MPs to toe the party line in the upcoming motion, to be debated on Tuesday April 18.
"Voting according to conscience doesn't work in a political party system. We all get into the list of things and go to Parliament as parliamentarians of the ANC.
"There will be no voting against the ANC," Mantashe said on Wednesday.
"Why do you think the ANC is Father Christmas? I don't know where this notion comes from that we are a collection of individuals who have conscience. We are members of ANC in a party political system."
Mthembu said they noted the "unfortunate remarks" made in certain quarters, which sought to threaten ANC MPs.
"Such utterances cast aspersions on the political standing of ANC MPs. Our MPs are tried and tested cadres of our movement, who in their own name and right within the ambit of the liberation struggle have contributed immensely to the attainment of our democratic dispensation and its advancement," Mthembu said.
He said the ANC caucus had not, on a single occasion, deviated from its mandate given by the organisation.
"This is the 5th motion of no confidence by the opposition in this 5th term of parliament. In all of these 'no confidence motions' which were defeated, not a single ANC MP voted with the opposition. We express our unqualified and unequivocal confidence in the ANC Caucus and all ANC MPs," he said.
ANC to abide by NWC decision
Mthembu said they had been inundated with calls, texts and emails by faceless individuals, lobbying them to disregard the party line and vote in favour of the motion.
"These calls are not only disingenuous, but also highly unfortunate as they seek to suggest that ANC MPs are free agents open to all sorts of mischievous lobbying and manipulation by the opposition and other forces. The very same opposition making these calls have always voted along party lines yet they expect ANC MPs not to be guided and directed by their political party."
ANC MPs got their political mandate from the organisation, he said, adding that the party would abide by the decision of the national working committee to not support the motion.
The party would also not support calls for a secret ballot in the motion of no confidence, Mthembu said.
The DA's John Steenhuisen said, with this declaration, the ANC had drawn a line in the sand - with the ANC on one side and the people of South Africa on the other.
"The ANC and Jacob Zuma are the same, and do not have the capacity to 'self-correct'."
"Our call has been for all Members of Parliament to listen to the people of South Africa by staying true to the Constitution and their Oaths of Office, which call upon them to always act in the interests of the country and its people. Today the ANC in Parliament has told South Africa that the voices of the people do not matter," he said.