African National Congress (ANC) chief whip Jackson Mthembu on Monday urged the ruling party structures to act against MP Mondli Gungubele for declaring his support for the opposition motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma.
Mthembu added that he had noted “with regret the complete collapse of discipline among certain ANC members of Parliament”.
He described Gungubele as being the latest ANC MP to join a defiance campaign to publicly pronounce that he would not vote according to the ANC party line in the upcoming motion of no confidence in Zuma, flouting a directive to toe the party line and vote in support of the president.
“These utterances are utterly out of order and represent the most extreme form of ill-discipline.”
Mthembu said ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe has spoken to Gungubele and repeatedly cautioned him about his public pronouncements.
He said at the weekend that he planned to vote with the opposition on August 8 when the motion will be debated. This comes a few weeks after senior ANC MP Makhosi Khoza urged Zuma to step down, prompting the party to announce disciplinary steps against her.
She has said she would submit herself to the process, but reiterated that she saw Zuma as a leader who had lost his way.
Mthembu said the ANC was aware of the challenges it faced, but accused Gungubele of crudely betraying its tradition of centralism.
“Comrade Gungubele has expressly defined his political programme to be that of self-promotion masquerading as political correctness at the expense of the ANC,” he said.
“What is particularly unfortunate is that comrade Gungubele who is a long serving leader of the ANC and has been a member of parliament before, has decided to act in such a crude defiant manner not in keeping with democratic centralism and collective leadership as a defining feature of the ANC.”
He stressed that ANC MPs should not consider themselves free agents.
“We are calling on the organisation through its constitutional structures to act against the ill-disciplined behaviour of comrade Gungubele. His ill-discipline is no longer an ANC caucus matter as it is questioning and defying decisions of the ANC as a political centre and authority.”
Mthembu last year publicly backed then finance minister Pravin Gordhan when fraud charges were instituted against him in what was widely accepted to be a political campaign against the treasury boss. The charges were dropped but Gordhan was fired by Zuma at the end of March, prompting opposition parties to bring the motion of no confidence in the president.
Speaker Baleka Mbete is yet to pronounce on whether she will allow a secret ballot, allowing ANC MPs to vote according to conscience, without facing party sanction.