The embattled Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) has suffered a further blow with the defection of its deputy president Themba Godi and two MPLs to the newly formed African People’s Convention (APC).
Godi’s move to the APC was announced by National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete at the start of proceedings on Tuesday.
Godi is one of only three PAC MPs in the National Assembly, and the other two defectors — Eastern Cape MPL Zingisa Mkabile and Gauteng MPL Malesela Ledwaba — the party’s only representatives in the nine provincial legislatures.
Godi is also chairperson of Parliament’s key public accounts (Scopa) committee and the first MP to cross the floor to another party during the current window period, which closes on September 15.
The APC is to be formally launched at a press conference in Gauteng on Wednesday.
This leaves the PAC with two MPs in the Assembly — former secretary general Mofihli Likotsi and former president Motsoko Pheko.
While Pheko has gone on record stating he will not cross to another party, speculation is Likotsi might follow in Godi’s footsteps or join another party.
Pheko is embroiled in a dispute with the PAC, which is seeking to expel him for allegedly failing to account for party funds.
He was expelled in June, but appealed, and last week the Cape High Court ruled the PAC could not replace him as an MP until the outcome of the party’s internal appeal process.
The Cape Times reported earlier on Tuesday that Mkabile chairs Scopa in the Eastern Cape, while Ledwaba is the PAC’s former national organiser.
He was stripped of the position earlier this year by party bosses.
This decision prompted a change of heart from those within the PAC unhappy with the leadership of new party president Letalapa Mpahlele, elected last year in what his detractors claimed was a fraudulent election in QwaQwa.
Godi told the Cape Times that he, Ledwaba and Mkabile had defected after it became clear that attempts to intervene by veterans and others had failed.
Full reasons for the defection would be made public on Wednesday.
The ACP would remain ”Africanists, Pan Africanists and socialists”, he said.
The ACP’s establishment brings the number of political parties in the National Assembly to 17. – Sapa