Hunt on for ‘treasonous’ ANC rebel MPs

As ANC heavyweights get guns out for rebel MPs, opposition parties plot their next moves

10 August 2017 - 05:43
By NGWAKO MODJADJI, JAN-JAN JOUBERT and NATHI OLIFANT
President Jacob Zuma celebrates with his supporters after he survived a no-confidence motion in parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, August 8, 2017.
Image: REUTERS/Mike Hutchings President Jacob Zuma celebrates with his supporters after he survived a no-confidence motion in parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, August 8, 2017.

ANC heavyweights are threatening to hunt those who voted against President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday as the DA pushes for an early election.

Meanwhile, The Times's sister publication, the Sowetan, has established that ANC MPs in a critical caucus meeting before Tuesday's no-confidence vote were told that their jobs could be on the line if they voted to support the motion as it could force an early election.

Ricardo Mthembu, chairman of the ANC's powerful KwaDukuza region and mayor of the KwaDukuza municipality in KwaZulu-Natal, said his region would put pressure on the ANC leadership to deal decisively with MPs and members who supported the DA motion.

Similar sentiments came from ANC and pro-Zuma leaders following the vote.

"We are not pre-empting anything, but the buck stops with the ANC leadership. This can set a dangerous precedent that may cascade down to legislatures and local councils," Mthembu said.

"The DA is the enemy of the revolution and as such supporting its motion is treasonous. This behaviour and tendency should be stopped. You just cannot have members colluding with our enemy. This was a wake-up call and structures of the movement need to deal with these tendencies," said Mthembu.

His comments came as it emerged ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe allegedly told ANC MPs that if they voted for the motion the ANC would be torn apart.

Insiders at the meeting in parliament said Mantashe warned MPs the ruling party would not be able to reach a consensus to elect a new leader because of its internal strife.

"He said it would be difficult to agree on a candidate if Zuma is removed because of the ANC's internal problems."

Zuma survived by a relatively narrow margin with 177 MPs voting for his removal and 198 voting for him to remain president.

The result indicated that at least 30 ANC MPs could have voted for Zuma's removal.

Yesterday, Zuma steered clear of speaking about his narrow escape during the Women's Day celebration in Kimberley in the Northern Cape.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane called for early elections, claiming the government had lost the mandate of the people.

"We say, bring it on! Let's fight an election for the future of our country, and let's do it now. By the time Jacob Zuma has destroyed the ANC completely, and the country, it will be too late," said Maimane.

He announced that the DA would move a motion in the National Assembly for an early general election.

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Inkatha Freedom Party MP Narend Singh said the party felt the writing was on the wall for Zuma.

"We certainly will bring up a new motion of no confidence sooner rather than later and hopefully ANC members will feel buoyed by the fact that some of their colleagues voted in favour of the motion and will also vote for it."

Congress of the People's Mosiuoa Lekota told The Times: "The goal was to make sure we rid the country of Zuma."

Economic Freedom Fighters spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said: "We now look to September when the Constitutional Court will hear the case that Zuma must be impeached for breaking his oath of office."

- Additional reporting by Katherine Child, Kyle Cowan and Penwell Dlamini