The African National Congress (ANC) in KwaZulu-Natal has confirmed that it has served party MP Dr Makhosi Khoza with a charge sheet.
Provincial secretary Super Zuma told News24 on Wednesday that they served Khoza with a formal charge sheet late on Tuesday.
He said, for now, the Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) has resolved not to publicly disclose the charges that she faces.
News24 understands that the charges relate to Khoza’s public outcry about President Jacob Zuma to step down, and speaking out about problems in the ANC.
He also refused to reveal the date Khoza would appear before the disciplinary committee.
"I can’t do so. For now, we are not intending to debate this issue publicly because she has been formally charged. So we don’t want to infringe on her rights.
"We don’t want her to complain about her matter being dealt with publicly," he said.
Zuma said Khoza has been given the date, but he could not disclose it.
Khoza was not immediately available for comment.
ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa, at the party’s Luthuli House headquarters, said that Khoza’s conduct was a "flagrant defiance of the party".
Khoza has written to Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete, urging her to use the secret ballot on August 8, when the vote of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma will be debated. The ANC in Parliament has said it would abide by whatever decision Mbete makes.
Khoza has also joined the growing calls for Zuma to step down.
Kodwa said Khoza was not being charged because she had called for Zuma to go, but for her conduct that "flies against ANC rules and disciplinary code".
"She is in violation of her oath of membership and violation of party discipline, because what is the point of joining the ANC if you can’t abide by its own rules," Kodwa said.
In an interview with News24, Kodwa revealed that the party had tried on numerous occasions to reach Khoza, but that she had ignored their calls.
He said he had tried personally and that there were also attempts by ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe, parliamentary chief whip Jackson Mthembu and the KwaZulu-Natal ANC.
"We tried to reach her, but were unsuccessful. We even asked Jackson (Mthembu), because of his proximity in Parliament, to please help us. Even there, Jackson has complained that she is not willing to see him and it is difficult to see her... including the Speaker of Parliament, battling to get her confirmation about whether she accepts security arranged after her threats. Parliament is also struggling to get hold of her," Kodwa said.
"The leadership of the ANC is struggling to reach her, but yet we see her everywhere. Our view is that it is that conduct that worries us as the ANC."
Kodwa dismissed criticism that the ANC was applying double standards, because it has not charged other senior members – including Derek Hanekom, Pravin Gordhan and Mthembu – who have also called for Zuma to step down.
Kodwa said they had been summoned to Luthuli House to account to the party’s top six, and warned to stop.
"We spoke to them and said, 'Do not do it again'. Disciplinary action must be the last resort to deal with a comrade, because comrades might not be aware they are in violation, so we call them and say it is not right," Kodwa said.
He said Khoza’s call for Zuma to step down was not a "new issue", as it had been "ventilated" in the party's national executive committee. Zuma survived two motions of no confidence inside the ANC.
The ANC maintains that it is not worried that there is a chance that the 8th motion of no confidence on August 8 will succeed.
Zuma would be addressing the August 9 Women’s Day rally as president of the country, Kodwa said. The party has repeatedly warned its members against defying party line to defeat the motion.