President Jacob Zuma's fate is on the line this Tuesday.Picture: Bhekikhaya Mabaso

ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu said the governing party's MPs are under enormous pressure with “thousands” of emails being sent urging them to support the motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma.

“There are those who have emailed us thousands and thousands of emails. Many members of the ANC receive thousands and thousands of emails and they are saying we must act in the interest of our country,” Mthembu said.

The party's decision to vote against the motion would be doing exactly that, he added.

“Doing anything different will not be acting in the interest of the country,” Mthembu said on Friday.

Constitutional Court Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has ruled that Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete has the discretion to decide whether the vote on Tuesday will be by secret or open ballot.

Mthembu said removing Zuma would thrust the country into a scenario of uncertainty the ANC had not prepared for.

“This will inadvertently negatively affect the poor and working class the most as they are dependent on government for their livelihoods.

“If we say we are at the level of junk status, just imagine what the impact of this move will be on the economic environment. Our view is that it will just be negative,” he said.

He likened voting in favour of the motion to throwing a nuclear bomb at the country.

However, he acknowledged the difficulties and the grievances of the people, including the party's partners in the tripartite alliance.

The recent cabinet reshuffle and reports from civil society and academics revealing the extent of state capture have sparked the motion.

“All these reports and documents have rightly caused anxiety... As the ANC we acknowledge and share this discomfort and anger which is continuously unfolding in the public domain,” Mthembu said.

He said the ANC caucus supported the institution of a judicial commission of inquiry, which Zuma is now challenging in the courts.

“This will be in keeping with the remedial action of the previous public protector’s report on state capture. Those found guilty must face consequences, including prosecution.”

However, issues pertaining to the proposed commission were the subject of a court review.

“Until these matters have been ventilated and attended to urgently, we will find ourselves in this position.”

However, he said easy but short-sighted solutions should not be sought for difficult political problems.

“This motion is a political ploy by our political nemesis with the sole intention of maximising their gains at the expense of the country.

“We are also protecting the electoral system, which places the authority to deploy MPs on the respective political parties that contested elections. All MPs from all parties take mandates from their parties. ANC MPs should not be expected to be different.”

Mthembu lashed out the opposition parties for wanting the ANC MPs to support the motion.

Some opposition leaders have claimed some ANC MPs would vote Zuma out if there was a secret ballot.

“You will not come into Parliament and opt to work with forces that are opposed to the ANC.

"We are here on account of the party list and you can’t change that.”

Mthembu said the motion had been instigated by the opposition, which wanted to remove the ANC from power.

“Who in his right mind from the ANC benches will then assist the opposition to remove this government? Nobody in their right mind will do so.”

Sunday Independent