Without mincing words, former President Thabo Mbeki’s entry into the ring in the fight for the soul of the governing African National Congress (ANC) has added to the woes of an embattled Jacob Zuma.
Mbeki’s far-reaching criticism against President Zuma made a comeback after the death of ANC stalwart Ahmed Kathrada – whose family went as far as barring Zuma from attending the funeral of the apartheid struggle icon.
Apart from Mbeki, several ANC leaders also used the occasion to launch scathing attacks on the leader of the ruling party.
The crop of Zuma’s critics is led by former ANC leader Motlanthe Kgalema, who spoke at length during the funeral about how Zuma has dragged the reputation, dignity, values and their hard-earned freedom through the mud.
Deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, Gwede Mantashe and Zweli Mkhize – all ANC NEC top six – also dished out their dissatisfaction with the present regime – particularly about Zuma’s unilateral decision in March that saw Pavin Gordhan and other ministers fired.
But Mbeki and his likes’ rants are apparently not making sense to the ANC Youth League (ANCYL), as the league has called on the ANC NEC to discipline them for sowing the seed of discord in the party.
The Free State ANCYL said on Tuesday that Mbeki and Motlanthe erred for telling ANC MPs to vote against President Jacob Zuma in the National Assembly’s debate on a motion of no confidence in Zuma next Tuesday.
League spokesperson Sello Pietersen described the senior members as “irresponsible and ill-disciplined for saying that.”
Pietersen was referring to the parliamentary motion brought by opposition parties to vote out President Zuma.
The motion followed Zuma’s controversial Cabinet reshuffle on March 30. He appointed 10 new ministers and 10 new deputy ministers. This consequently led to the country’s credit ratings being downgraded to junk status by Fitch, and Standard & Poor’s.
And while all opposition parties insisted they would vote for the motion, the ANC NEC said it would vote against the motion, despite calls to vote for it by opposition.
The ANC has a majority of more than 60% in parliament, but the opposition is hoping that its MPs would break rank to vote with them.
Earlier today, Senior ANC MP Makhosi Khoza said “Whether we vote for or against, both ways the ANC loses and both ways it’s going to dent significantly its status as a leader of society.”
Likewise, Mbeki called on ANC MPs to vote in the interest of the people instead of those of the governing party when the National Assembly debates a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma.
He iterated that MPs must act as the voice of the people, “not the voice of the political parties to which they belong”.
Meanwhile, the United Democratic Movement (UDM) filed a Constitutional Court challenge to force National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete to allow MPs to use the secret ballot on April 18 during the vote.
This comes after Parliament objected to the UDM’s court challenge on Monday, saying a secret ballot is not provided for in the constitution and rules of the National Assembly.
Also, BuzzSouthAfrica understands that the EFF and the DA have joined the United Democratic Movement (UDM) in asking the National Assembly Speaker to postpone next week’s vote of no confidence in Zuma. This is to allow for the Constitutional Court to decide if it will hear the party’s case for a secret ballot.