Appearing at the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture on Wednesday, Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe said the ANC had undergone a period of instability since former president Jacob Zuma stepped down.
Mantashe was giving his testimony at the commission relating to parliamentary oversight.
ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule was scheduled to appear before Zondo. However, the ANC sent Mantashe instead.
In his opening statement, Mantashe said the ANC should have not taken the “Samson Option” when former presidents Thabo Mbeki and Zuma were removed from their positions in 2008 and 2018 respectively.
The minister argued that the removal of presidents led to the collapse of the Cabinet and also created tension in the party.
“When you remove a president… for all internal purposes the Cabinet is removed. I can tell you that when the president was removed we received a long list of ministers resigning… basically collapsing government. So when we are dealing with the removal of a president it’s not just a question of a vote of no confidence… we look into the consequences and take a party view on those issues.
“The ANC could never take a Samson Option. The Samson Option, chairperson, is when you get into a room and pull the pillars collapsing the system on top of us… we thought it was a fatal option. This was the approach that Jessie Duarte and I adopted in June 2017 when a motion of no confidence was proposed during president Zuma’s tenure,” he said.
“The removal of presidents is a matter of party organisational issues, which should be best dealt with within the confines of the party. All South African political parties operate in a caucus system in all spheres of government.
“And as a governing party, the ANC will endeavor to rework on this and get to differentiate between participation in a caucus or a study group which may include the participation of ministers.”
Mantashe further said that since Zuma stepped down, the ANC had gone through a period of instability.
“A substantial part of the instability can be attributed to the allegations of involvement of the Guptas in ANC politics and in particular on the perceived hold they had over Zuma,” he said.
The minister’s comment comes in light of growing factionalism in the ANC after several structures including the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA), and the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal publicly backed Zuma in his defiance of the commission.
Another giant within the ANC, Ace Magashule, who is facing 21 charges of fraud and corruption, is under pressure to step down from his position after the party’s national executive committee (NEC) resolved last month that the secretary-general and others accused of criminal wrongdoing should step aside within 30 days.
Meanwhile, Mantashe, the ANC national chairperson, defended the ruling party’s deployment policy, saying the party does not have “cadre deployment”.