The deepening crisis within the ruling ANC over the leadership of President Jacob Zuma has become an issue of major concern to former President Thabo Mbeki who appealed to MPs to consider the interest of the citizens when participating in the forthcoming vote of no confidence in Zuma
Speaking ahead of the vote of no confidence in Zuma taking place on April 18th, former President Mbeki on Monday, called on ANC MPs think of the country and the interest of the people first before the party while they cast their vote against Zuma.
launching what seems like an attack on Zuma and his public supporters, the ex- leader reminded politicians, including the President that they were elected by the citizens and as such, should prioritize the interest of the people first before their personal or political interest.
He reminded MPs, particularly those from the ANC that they were accountable to South African Citizens and must, therefore, serve the public and not the governing party.
Although it could be assumed that MPs must respect decisions of their parties, the Constitutional Court clarified their role in the Nkandla judgment, Mbeki said in an article that extensively quoted the country’s constitution,
“It is obvious and logical that lawmakers must act in parliament as the voice of the people, not the voice of the political parties to which they belong.”
“It may be that the current controversy has‚ at last, imposed on our country the opportunity and obligation the better to define the constitutional and moral relationship between the people and their elected representatives,” he said in the article published by The Star daily.
The forthcoming vote of no confidence in Zuma has remained controversial as opposition parties are optimistic of the result favoring them despite the fact that the AMC MPs remain the largest in the house which could automatically affect the result.
Zuma has easily survived such previous votes against him, thanks to the majority the ruling African National Congress enjoys in parliament.
But in the forthcoming event, opposition parties plan to pressure some ANC MPs to support the move against Zuma by voting him out.
The former statesman Mbeki stands as the third ANC luminary to call on ANC MPs to consider the interests of South African voters over those of the party.
Former President Kgalema Motlanthe and veteran MP Ben Turok who earlier made the call invited the wrath of the ANC for telling the ruling party’s MPs to vote with their conscience.
Not minding the consequences of his actions, Mbeki insisted that MPs must act as the voice of the people, “not the voice of the political parties to which they belong”.
“It may be that the current controversy has, at last, imposed on our country the opportunity and obligation the better to define the constitutional and moral relationship between the people and their elected representatives,” he said.
Zuma’s leadership in the ruling party has seen more division within members of the party. This division is heightened by series of by corruption scandals roped around him in the recent pasts.
Tens of thousands of protesters marched through South African cities on Friday demanding that Zuma step down. These protest marches staged by opposition groups is expected to hold on Wednesday when Zuma will be celebrating his 75th birthday.
Meanwhile, with a week to go to the motion of no confidence debate in Jacob Zuma, ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu says his party’s MPs will not deviate from the mandate handed to them.
Confirming the fact that the ANC MPs are being lobbied by opposition parties — including the DA and EFF — to break ranks and vote with their conscience, Mthembu says there’s no doubt ANC MPs will vote in line with the directive from the National Working Committee.