/ 16 December 2022

ANC drops charges against Dlamini Zuma and others who bucked party line in parliament

Dlamini-Zuma’s new role gives her responsibility for evaluating
The ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) has halted disciplinary proceedings against five party MPs — including presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma

The ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) has halted disciplinary proceedings against five party MPs — including presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma — for defying the party and voting with the opposition in parliament this week.

Instead, the new NEC being elected at this weekend’s ANC conference — set to start later on Friday — will “process” the matter, along with a similar defiance of the party line by MPs during Jacob Zuma’s presidency, and decide whether to proceed with charges against them.

Outgoing ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said on Friday morning that the decision to halt proceeding against Dlamini Zuma, Mervyn Dirks, Thandi Mahabalela, Mosebenzi Zwane and Supra Mahumapelo had been taken at the special NEC meeting held on Thursday.

The five had voted with the opposition in favour of parliament adopting the report by the section 89 panel, appointed to investigate whether President Cyril Ramaphosa had a case to answer over the Phala Phala scandal.

Mabe said the NEC had confirmed that MPs backing the party line was “important” and that any members — including MPs — who failed to do so were “undermining the integrity and the unity of the ANC”. 

But the body had felt that “we should not use disciplinary measures to stifle debate” and had decided to ask the incoming NEC to “pay attention to the unity of the ANC”  while dealing with the disciplinary breaches.

“There is no member who will be coming before the national disciplinary committee,” Mabe said. 

The new NEC would “pay attention” to what had happened in the section 89 vote “and other incidents similar to it in the past” and would decide whether to refer them to the national disciplinary committee or any other disciplinary structure.

Mabe said that ANC members at all levels needed to take inspiration from the late Umkhonto we Sizwe chief of staff, Chris Hani, who had opposed the ending of the armed struggle, but had accepted — and publicly backed — the organisation’s decision.

“That was an act of courage,” Mabe said.

He said the ANC was “doing everything necessary” to ensure that the conference, which is running late because of logistical difficulties in registering delegates, went ahead and was not “collapsed” by any disgruntled element.

“The ANC is not coming here to bury itself,” Mabe said. 

He said that although there had been delays caused by technical difficulties, there had been no disruption of the registration process, which was being completed on Friday morning.

Conference would proceed with prayers and Ramaphosa’s political report as president, before breaking into closed sessions to discuss credentials and then the organisational report, to be delivered by deputy president David Mabuza.

There would also be discussion on constitutional amendments and on the integrity commission’s report, which would deal with both the Phala Phala and the Digital Vibes matters involving Ramaphosa’s main challenger, Zweli Mkhize.

Nominations to the top six posts would then take place.

Mabe said the conference preparatory committee was still deliberating on how to respond to the decision by the electoral commission to bar certain members from standing on the basis of criminal records.

This was being done as the leadership was “doing everything to make sure that this conference proceeds”, Mabe said.

Mabe declined to comment on the private prosecution being brought against Ramaphosa by former president Zuma, saying that the matter had nothing to do with the ANC conference.

The presidency has hit out at Zuma over the charges, saying that he is attempting to “burn” the country out of his sense of “hatred”.