Mthembu condemns Muthambi's Parliament boycott

ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu. (Gallo)

ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu. (Gallo)

ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu has condemned public service and administration minister Fatih Muthambi’s decision to boycott a portfolio committee meeting in Parliament where she was expected to account on the expenditure of government funds for a family trip to Cape Town.

Muthambi on Tuesday sent a letter to Mthembu’s office informing him that her department would be boycotting the portfolio committee meeting until its chairperson Makhosi Khoza was disciplined for voting with the opposition in a motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma.

“The ANC chief whip has responded to the study group stating that study groups do not have the authority to suspend any work they are deployed to do as ANC deployees in Parliament,” Mthembu said in a statement.

“Whatever their grievance, real or imagined in relation to the chairperson of the committee is a matter to be dealt with by the organisation which has deployed all of us. The matter of Dr Makhosi Khoza is being dealt with at an organisational level through the constitutional processes of the organisation. We therefore condemn today’s behaviour with utmost contempt,” he added.

On Sunday, the ANC Youth League in KwaZulu-Natal said they were sure that Khoza was among the 25 ANC MPs who voted in favour of the motion by the Democratic Alliance, and should be disciplined.

Addressing the Youth League’s cadres forum that same day, Zuma agreed, charging that those who voted with the opposition violated rule 25 of the party’s constitution by collaborating with “counter revolutionaries”.

Responding to Zuma, Khoza said the majority of ANC MPs had chosen to “continue the reign of kleptocracy” and “chose to attack those who side with morality and honesty”.

But the party’s secretary general Gwede Mantashe disagreed, saying that the vote happened in secret and there would be no way of knowing who voted with the DA.

Divisions in the ANC over what should happen to the MPs who voted with the DA have emerged since the motion was heard.
Senior national executive committee member Lindiwe Sisulu said those who voted with their conscience were empowered to do so by the Constitution which protected them.

Free State ANC chairperson and Mkhonto We Sizwe military veterans association’s president Kebby Maphatsoe has called for stern action to be taken against the MPs, and an investigation launched.

With just a few months until the party’s elective conference, more senior leaders have voiced their opinions on the succession race. NEC member Bheki Cele took an indirect swipe at Zuma in a recent interview with the City Press, saying “the ANC is not a royal dynasty and does not have kings who must be succeeded by their queens or princesses,” Cele said.

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