Cele defends ANC MPs who voted against Zuma

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Officials prepare ballot boxes for the motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma. Picture: Rodger Bosch/AP
Officials prepare ballot boxes for the motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma. Picture: Rodger Bosch/AP

ANC NEC member Bheki Cele has defended ANC MPs who voted with opposition parties in last week’s motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma.

Speaking to ANC branches at the Umlazi Cinema Hall, Cele said there was already talk of wasting state resources by using them to procure lie detector tests in order to find out which MPs broke ranks and voted with the opposition.

“No one is asking what it is that led to those people taking that decision. Why not ask where the action began? Those people who voted with the opposition are not insane. They are serious ANC members and NEC members.”

President Jacob Zuma, treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize, NEC member Lindiwe Zulu and the ANC in KZN have all called for disciplinary action to be taken against the MPs who sided with the opposition – though it is not clear exactly how many they were and who they were given the use of the secret ballot.

Chair of the ANC’s national disciplinary committee, Jeff Radebe, told City Press that he would not support a witchhunt of the culprits but called on them to have “the courage of their convictions” and out themselves.

Cele, however, said that the rebel MPs should be engaged on what led them to that decision rather than rushing to hang them out to dry.

“They should be called and asked why they did what they did; let them respond. Why start with these ones and not those who brought about the problem”

“Those people are clearly sitting with something that is troubling them; go to those who are doing the troubling,” he said.

ANC MPs Derek Hanekom, Dr Makhosi Khoza and former finance minister Pavin Gordhan had all publicly stated going into the motion of no confidence that they would not toe the party line but would instead vote using their consciences.

Speaker Baleka Mbete granted a request from the opposition for the vote to be conducted by secret ballot at the eleventh hour.

This came after opposition parties had approached the Constitutional Court to direct Mbete to allow for the secret ballot after she said that it was not within her powers to make the call.

The Constitutional Court ruled that she did in fact have the powers to grant the secret ballot.

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