ANC rebels backtrack on Zuma no confidence motion
ANC MPs have dumped a proposal that the party's parliamentary caucus should come up with its own resolution to determine President Jacob Zuma's fate.
This comes after the party's national executive committee decided against removing Zuma from the Union Buildings, and instructed its MPs to toe the party line on any opposition-sponsored motion of no confidence in the president.
Several members of the ANC's parliamentary caucus last month committed to defending Zuma during the no-confidence vote, but suggested that the party's parliamentary structure find its own way of dealing with him.
Party MPs, who asked not to be named because they were not authorised to speak on the matter, said the NEC instruction had disarmed Zuma's detractors as it was binding on all ANC MPs.
"Caucus is no longer concerned about that," said one party MP.
The caucus has also closed ranks around MPs such as Mondli Gungubele and Makhosi Khoza, with chief whip Jackson Mthembu saying no action would taken against them after they let it be known they would vote in favour of the motion of no confidence in Zuma's leadership.
"The ANC doesn't guillotine people who have any views but tries to get everybody to be on the same page, and that's what we have done - can we be on the same page no matter how difficult a matter can be?
"Gungubele was saying how he might vote because of whatever views he holds as a member of parliament," said Mthembu.
"There are people in caucus who said how they might vote. They might vote following their conscience."
He said the caucus had members who were leaders in their own right.
"You don't have people that need to be politically babysat."
The motion will be debated only after the Constitutional Court has ruled on the application of the United Democratic Movement for an order to compel National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete to allow a secret vote.
Mthembu said he was not having sleepless nights, because the motion would fail.
"I don't have any fears. If you remember, my first day as chief whip was to deal with a similar motion last year. Some said it was a baptism of fire. So I'm a veteran of votes of no confidence and defeating them," said Mthembu.
An MP who spoke on condition of anonymity said Mthembu had defended MPs who spoke out in public about their positions on the motion.
"Jackson defended them. If your chief whip is very good there's nothing wrong. He does that as an NEC member. Jackson is very independent and a good person," said the MP.