Defiant ANC MP Dr Makhosi Khoza. Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

Johannesburg - The ANC has dismissed suggestions that the disciplinary charges levelled against its defiant MP, Dr Makhosi Khoza, was a warning shot to those who wanted to vote against President Jacob Zuma in Parliament on August 8.

And ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa was also adamant that Zuma would address the Women’s Day celebrations as head of state on August 9.

“President Zuma, whether there is a secret ballot or not on August 8, will address the Women’s Day celebrations the following day as president of the country and as the president of the ANC,” Kodwa told The Star yesterday.

The ANC national executive committee (NEC) has taken a decision that the party’s public representatives should not vote with the opposition to unseat Zuma.

This came in the wake of the NEC throwing its weight behind Zuma after he twice survived calls to step down made by senior party members such as Joel Netshitenzhe and Derek Hanekom at NEC meetings.

The party’s stance has prompted calls within civil society and the opposition that Speaker Baleka Mbete should decide on a secret ballot for the motion of no-confidence on August 8.

There is widespread belief that some ANC MPs who are unhappy with Zuma would vote him out if Mbete granted the secret ballot.

Opposition parties have been claiming that they were aware of some ANC MPs who wished for a secret ballot, fearing the consequence if they voted otherwise in an open ballot.

At least 51 ANC MPs need to vote with the opposition to obtain a 201 simple majority, if the motion is to succeed.

Khoza is but one who came out in the open to call on Zuma to step down and asked Mbete to decide on a secret ballot, after she received death threats when she maintained that she would vote with her conscience.

Kodwa would not speculate on what would happen to MPs who would break ranks.

“We can’t speculate on what will happen,” he said before dismissing suggestions that the action against Khoza was a message to other ANC MPs to toe the line.

Khoza, who is accused of breaching 11 party rules, has not been suspended.

Kodwa said it was disingenuous for people and opposition parties playing double standards to expect ANC MPs to vote against their own when other parties did not do the same.

“In Mogale City, the EFF is taking action against the councillors who voted against its council position,” he pointed out. “In the debate in the Western Cape Legislature on the motion of no-confidence in Premier Helen Zille, the DA will expect its MPLs to toe the party line,” Kodwa added.

Political analyst Protas Madlala said the chances were slim that Mbete would decide on a secret ballot.

“The court did not instruct her, but it said she must use her discretion,” Madlala said.

He added that it was unlikely that ANC MPs, especially those in the executive, would vote themselves out of their jobs.

“If there is a handful of them, the question is whether they will be the majority, but I doubt it,” said Madlala.

He added that it was common for parties to expect their members not to vote against a party decision.

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