Newly elected African National Congress (ANC) secretary general Fikile Mbalula has cracked the whip against party members who voted to impeach President Cyril Ramaphosa last week, saying Tuesday that only the party can be take such a decision and not individual members.Mbalula said a ruling ANC lawmaker cannot sit in parliament and expect to vote to impeach his or her own party president.
“No member we have sent to parliament will exist on his or her own and have his or her own conscience. If you want your own conscience, then open your own political party,” Mbalula said.
He said there was “no self-respecting political party in the world that will go to parliament and vote to impeach its own president.”
“Here it is democratic centralism. But if you call yourself an ANC member there are rules, there is a party line. And if you don’t want to follow the party line, then you belong elsewhere,” he said.
Last week at least five ANC lawmakers defied party instructions to vote in favour of adopting an independent panel report in the National Assembly which was later defeated in the House due the majority numbers the ANC has in the chamber.
Among the defiant lawmakers was Cooperative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, ex-wife of former president Jacob Zuma who is on a mission to push out Ramaphosa over a hidden cash scandal.
Mbalula was elected secretary general of the ANC on Monday as part of the party’s new Top 7 leadership.
For the first time in the party’s history, three women feature in the Top 7 of the ANC.
Among them is Gwen Ramokgopa, aged 42 and the youngest of the Top 7, who has made history by becoming the first woman to be elected as treasurer general of the ANC since its unbanning in 1990.
The previous line-up only had one woman in the then Top Six, the late Jesse Duarte who was deputy secretary general of the party.