ANC members of Parliament must respect party lines and refuse to vote with their conscience when President Jacob Zuma stares down the barrel of yet another motion of confidence sponsored by the Economic Freedom Fighters.
The party’s secretary-general Ace Magashule made it clear that ANC MPs must tow the line when the motion of no confidence is brought before Parliament.
The motion has been set down for February 22 but the EFF MPs are lobbying National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete to move the motion forward, going as far as to threaten legal action should she refuse.
“As a revolutionary party, I don’t know whether we will support the motion of no confidence. We are a party and any party which is governing knows there is no way the opposition will support it. The role of the opposition is to oppose it and that is what the ruling party is doing,” Magashule said in the press conference where he announced the national executive committee’s decision to recall Zuma.
“There will always be party lines. You can’t be a party member and you vote with your conscience, that doesn’t actually exist.”
A motion of no confidence is the only card that the ANC has left to play if it is serious about removing Zuma from the office of president.
This follows his alleged refusal to resign and would allow for ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa – who is the deputy president of the country – to take over that office.
A removal in Parliament would mean that Mbete would have to take over as acting president until Parliament elects a new one.
Parliament has issued notice of an urgent special meeting for Wednesday morning.
The ANC will either have to support the EFF’s motion of no confidence or sponsor its own.
It will be difficult for Mbete to justify an ANC motion before fulfilling the EFF request.
The ANC voting alongside the EFF would give the EFF and other political parties significant political leverage ahead of next year’s crucial general elections.
On Monday the opposition also called for the complete dissolution of Parliament which would result in early elections.
Magashule said that for now the ANC had not discussed tabling their own motion and that officials of the party would continue “interacting” with Zuma.