ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule has defended his party’s MPs who stayed away from a parliamentary vote on whether to establish an inquiry against Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane or not.
Earlier this week, Parliament passed a motion establishing a committee to conduct the inquiry into Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office.
62 ANC MPs were absent
It was based an independent panel established by National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise. The panel found that there is enough prima facie evidence of Mkhwebane’s alleged incompetence and misconduct to warrant an inquiry.
275 MPs, including 168 from the ANC, voted in favour of the motion, while 40 voted against. ANC has 230 MPs in Parliament, which means 62 were not present when the vote was held.
Speaking to Durban radio station Gagasi FM on Thursday, Magashule said MPs who skipped the vote “did the right thing” by not “sleeping with the enemy.”
He explained, “The ANC cannot change its character. the ANC cannot sleep with the enemy. We have always defined [the opposition], especially the DA, as the enemy of the revolution. So funny things are actually happening now.
“I think maybe what you don’t know is that a lot of comrades in the National Assembly who are ANC members did not participate in that discussion and voting.”
Magashule also said those MPs will not face repercussions for not taking part in the vote. “What repercussion when they have done the right thing?” he asked.
Some ANC MPs, including Supra Mahumapelo, Kebby Maphatsoe and Mervyn Dirks, had openly expressed opposition against establishing an inquiry into Mkhwebane’s conduct.
Before the vote, however, ANC National Chairperson Gwede Mantashe instructed the party’s MPs to support the motion. Chief Whip Pemmy Majodina had earlier emphasised that support for the motion was not a decision on whether or not to remove Mkhwebane from office.
On Wednesday, Majodina’s spokesperson, Kota Nomfanelo, told EWN that ANC MPs who skipped the vote had valid reasons and therefore will not face disciplinary action.
“Others were kicked out of the virtual platform because we had poor connectivity. The ANC caucus is not arbitrarily punitive and we do not envisage any disciplinary processes that will be taken against them,” Nomfanelo added.