Johannesburg – The African National Congress (ANC) on Tuesday dared the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) on an urgent motion of no confidence the opposition party had lodged against President Jacob Zuma with the National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete.
“Well, bring it on EFF…theirs is an effort to try to destabilise the revolution and we are equally determined for them not to succeed,” said ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte.
The red berets lodged the motion with Mbete, requesting that it be part of the order paper at Tuesday’s National Assembly sitting. Mbete was yet to decide on the EFF application.
ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said the ANC had a principle that in Parliament, ANC MPs represented the views of their party and “no one does as they wish” and deviated from the organisation’s decisions.
“No one does as he or she wishes…that is why there is a caucus, where the party discusses issues, takes decisions and takes those to Parliament and executes the decisions. Anybody who wants to be a free agent must go contest the elections as a free agent…there is this assumption that the ANC is a free for all and that people should follow what they decide for the ANC,” said Mantashe.
He said anyone who felt they did not want to follow the ANC party line and its programmes should decide whether they wanted to leave because the party “will release you if that is the case”.
The ruling party’s top leadership emerged from an extended bruising national executive committee meeting that saw Zuma survive the onslaught by several ministers who requested that he step down. It was reported that the ministers who wanted Zuma gone threatened to step down from their Cabinet posts.
Matashe said “no mass resignations” were expected in the party. Mass resignations would have serious consequences on the ANC, he added.
“We do not expect what you’re calling mass resignations. I do not know whether you anticipate mass resignation of ANC MPs who have been given specific tasks…but would deviate from the tasks, resign and remain in the ANC? Or will they be giving up their ANC membership as well? The ANC gives you a task as minister or deputy minister and you think, when you feel like it you will just walk away?…there’s no party that operates that way,” he said.
“Mass resignations would have serious consequences because we are a movement, we are not an organisation of people having come together through some conscious. We are an ideological organisation…so we cannot be a free for all.”