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By Eric Naki

Political Editor

Mbalula says ANC ‘suicide bombers’ will be dealt with

The party has no intention of getting rid of Zuma, either as national or party president, and will punish ANC MPs who vote with their conscience.

The ANC will deal harshly with “suicide bombers” who will be voting to remove President Jacob Zuma from power in the upcoming no-confidence motion in Parliament.

This was a stern warning from ANC chair of the ANC’s subcommittee on organisation renewal Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula to all party MPs who were contemplating voting with their consciences when the motion is debated in the National Assembly in August.

Mbalula also announced a plan to establish a Revolutionary Electoral Council to closely evaluate all party leaders nominated by branches to determine if they meet its strict leadership criteria in terms of the ANC’s ‘Through the Eye of the Needle’ document. Essentially the document demands that leaders should have impeccable credentials and unquestionable conduct, among other things, before they can be elected into party structures and government offices.

In his organisational renewal report, Mbalula said it was not intimidation but a requirement of the party that members should toe the line in parliament as they received their mandate from the ANC. He stressed that those who voted with the opposition to remove Zuma would face the wrath of the party.

“They are suicide bombers. It’s political suicide. We are not running a beer hall, we are running an organisation that is accountable to the people.”

Notwithstanding the fact that all parliamentarians swore allegiance to the country’s constitution, Mbalula said the ANC understood and respected that “but we have a party system in the republic. The MPs owe their allegiances to the parties; they get their mandate from the parties,” he said.

He described those intending to vote with the opposition as “suicide bombers” because they would be dying for a cause even when they could see it was wrong.

The ANC is facing a mammoth task if it is to try to trace the culprits if vote is by secret ballot. It may struggle to determine which individual MPs voted contrary to its position.

He did not elaborate on the kind of action to be taken against those who might break the rules.

Some parliamentarians, such as Derek Hanekom, have indicated they will be voting according to their consciences on the motion, a move interpreted to mean the will vote to have Zuma removed from power.

All political parties in the National Assembly are expected to make submissions to Speaker Baleka Mbete on whether the vote should be conducted by secret or open ballot. The matter will be tabled in Parliament in early August.

On the National Revolutionary Council, Mbalula said the idea was being proposed in the party’s national policy conference currently under way at Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg.

The council would comprise of ANC senior members, including but not limited to party veterans and stalwarts with no personal interest in leadership.

“We need capable people; they will listen to candidates and evaluate them according to the “Through the Eye of the Needle’. We want people with impeccable credentials; we don’t want people to be affirmed by factions,” Mbalula said.

He stressed that candidates at national, provincial and council level would still be selected by branches but further scrutinised by the council to ensure their leadership qualities.

If agreed at the policy conference, the idea would be presented for adoption at the party’s elective national conference in December.

– ericn@citizen.co.za

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