Johannesburg - The ANC Youth League in KwaZulu-Natal has defended naming Makhosi Khoza, Pravin Gordhan, Mondli Gungubele and Derek Hanekom as "culprits" who supported the DA's motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma.
League chairperson Kwazi Mshengu said he could name them without fear because they had publicly said they would vote with their consciences on a motion designed to "liquidate the ANC".
He called for the four to be investigated, disciplined and, if found guilty, expelled from the party.
"If you vote with counter-revolution, you have no space in the revolutionary party," Mshengu told News24.
He also wants Hanekom to be removed as chair of the ANC’s disciplinary committee and another person brought in to lead the disciplinary process.
His comments come as ANC’s national working committee was meeting on Monday afternoon to discuss the historic secret vote that saw an estimated 30 to 40 ANC members defying the party line and voting, for the first time, with the opposition.
"The culprits we are talking about have gone to the public to try and mobilise society to rise against ANC – they are saying it is no longer able to lead society, so we find that to be a contradiction. So, to us, it is not a matter of comrades expressing their opinions," Mshengu said.
Zuma was expected to lead the calls for disciplinary action after he said this weekend that the action amounted to bringing the ANC into disrepute.
He repeatedly quoted the ANC constitution when speaking at the cadres forum in the Free State and in KwaZulu-Natal, detailing what amounted to misconduct by a party member.
He quoted Section 5.17.12 of the party's constitution that reads: "Joining or supporting a political organisation or party, other than an organisation in alliance with the ANC, in a manner contrary to the aims, objectives and policy of the ANC."
On Thursday, the Council for the Advancement of South Africa's Constitution (Casac) said it was concerned that there were "blatant threats at MPs who voted in favour of the motion".
"The identity of the 40 or so ANC MPs who decided to either vote for the motion or to abstain is not, or should not be, known because the ballot was conducted in secret as directed by the speaker," Casac director Lawson Naidoo said.
Naidoo said disciplinary action would constitute to an attack on the Constitution, as much as individual MPs.
"The speaker's position flows directly from the Constitutional Court's ruling on 22 June, which made it absolutely clear that an MP's duty is first and foremost to the Constitution and not the party. Those who are mischievously suggesting otherwise, now including the president, are willfully attempting to mislead the public," Naidoo said.
Mshengu, who shared a podium with Zuma on Sunday in KwaZulu-Natal, disagreed.
He defended Zuma, quoting the Constitution, despite the court ruling that Zuma had failed to uphold the Constitution when he refused to pay back the money used for upgrades at his Nkandla homestead, as recommended by the Public Protector.
Zuma never faced any disciplinary process for bringing the organisation into disrepute.
"The Constitutional Court did not speak on the constitution of the ANC, but made a finding in relation to the Constitution of the country. At no stage was he found guilty of transgressing the constitution of the ANC, as these members have done," Mshengu said.
When asked if failing to uphold the Constitution of the country did constitute a more serious offence than violating the party's constitution, Mshengu said there was a difference between "a clear violation of the Constitution and negligent failure to uphold the Constitution".
However, he denied that an investigation into a secret ballot amounted to a "witch hunt".
He would not say how they could prove that Gordhan, Hanekom, Khoza and Gungubele had indeed voted in support of the motion, given that it had been a secret ballot.
He said his evidence was based on the fact that the four had "worked tirelessly to mobilise ANC members and community to rise against ANC decision to reject the motion".
"We are saying, those are the culprits who have been on record to say they have no respect for party discipline and party line. They said all over that they are going to vote with their conscience, which was telling them to vote against a revolutionary party in favour of a motion designed to liquidate the ANC," Mshengu said. All four have publicly called for Zuma to step down.
Mshengu said if the national working committee did not endorse their call, they would call for the national executive committee, which is the highest decision-making body between conferences, to take action.
He said if no action was taken, it could set a "wrong precedent" for the party.
"You will not be able to control your members and deal with them, where there is transgression at provincial or municipal level. Then we will have no organisation, it will be a group of individuals," Mshengu said.
Gordhan told News24 that he did not wish to comment at this stage.
Gungubele said he would wait for the NWC's decision on Monday.
"There are a number of leaders saying a number of things on that situation. It's wiser to wait for the official position," Gungubele told News24.
'I have been complicit'
He said, as the ANC was expected to serve as a leader of society, it was expected to set the example for everyone.
"You don’t want the ANC to conduct itself in a manner that questions its viability in the various forms of democracy. In establishing principles of the law, ANC must be the main adherence."
"If you say a vote is done by secret ballot, it’s a secret. That’s it. You cannot make it into anything else."
Khoza has suggested she had voted in support of the motion.
At the weekend, she said she had participated in the defeat of the last seven motions against Zuma, but had realised on the eighth motion that there was no ANC collective to speak of after the top 6 had been split on Zuma’s Cabinet reshuffle.
"I have been complicit when I participated in seven motions of no confidence," Khoza said.
She added that those celebrating the defeat of the motion were on the wrong side of history.
"Those who celebrated in 1964 when Madiba was sentenced as a terrorist were mistaken. So were those who murdered and exiled our youth in 1976. Those who celebrated Solomon Mahlangu’s hanging in 1979 were mistaken. History tells us so," Khoza said.
Khoza has been charged by the KwaZulu-Natal ANC over her call for Zuma to go, while the Gauteng ANC decided to just warn Gungubele.
Casac has called on the National Assembly, through the speaker, to reassure MPs and to clarify to the public that MP's were not only entitled to vote with their conciences, but had a duty to do so.
"Clearly, the prevailing atmosphere is becoming more toxic, highly charged and retributive. It is highly regrettable that some political leaders, including the president, have complained bitterly in public about what some of them are choosing to call a betrayal," Naidoo said.
Multiple attempts were made by News24 to contact Khoza and Hanekom on Monday.