President Jacob Zuma is going nowhere and any ANC Member of Parliament who votes for his removal may face expulsion from the party.
This is the hard stance being adopted by the ANC as Zuma will, on August 8, face yet another test in Parliament when MPs vote on a motion of no-confidence in him.
Police Minister Fikile Mbalula
Speaker Baleka Mbete is receiving submissions from various political parties either for or against the motion of no-confidence being decided through a secret ballot.
ANC national executive committee member, Fikile Mbalula, said removing Zuma would be self-destructive for the ANC.
Zuma’s removal had been debated in the party’s national executive committee and was defeated, Mbalula said, adding that ANC MPs are expected to uphold this decision.
ANC MPs should vote not according to their conscience but in line with the decisions of the party, he said.
Likening ANC MPs who plan on voting against Zuma to suicide bombers, Mbalula said the party will institute disciplinary action against MPs who defy the party.
“A suicide bomber is somebody who dies for an ideology whether it is right or wrong, they die for it. You decide that today is the day I am gone.”
He said that the removal of a sitting president had in the past proven to be a costly mistake on the part of the ANC.
The recall of former president Thabo Mbeki in 2008 had not only led to the formation of Cope but it had caused an exodus of experienced leaders and thinkers, Mbalula claimed.
He said that at the time Zuma and Secretary General Gwede Mantashe were among the very few NEC members who were opposed to Mbeki’s removal.
“Gwede had to be the bearer of bad news and Mbeki said ‘fine, I will leave’. I was in the bush (undergoing initiation) and I was shocked. When (former Gauteng premier Sam) Shilowa left, I was shocked because he is not a minnow, he can think.”
He said opposition parties like the DA that were calling for the removal of Zuma were doing so due to political expediency.
Mbalula said even DA leader Mmusi Maimane had failed to remove Helen Zille.
Despite there being growing calls for the removal of Zuma from even within ANC ranks, Mbalula said pinning all problems facing the party on Zuma was not correct.
He said Zuma will stay on as party leader until December when the ANC is expected to elect new leadership.
Mbalula said the losses suffered by the ANC in the Tshwane, Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Bay metros had not only “frightened” the ANC but had made it think hard. He said the party was aware that it had to be on its toes or risk losing power to the “liberals and demagogues”.
“It is not going to be easy in 2019 but we will rise, we will defend power,” said Mbalula.
Regarding the influence of the Guptas, Mbalula said that, although not defending them, they do not constitute a dangerous “monopoly”.