Ace Magashule throws weight behind ANC MPs who stayed away from Mkhwebane vote

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule. File photo.
ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule. File photo.
Image: Alon Skuy/Sunday Times

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule has thrown his weight behind party MPs who did not participate in the vote to establish a special committee to probe Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office.

Speaking on Durban-based regional radio station Gagasi FM on Thursday, Magashule said ANC MPs who did not take part in the vote on Tuesday “did the right [thing]” by refusing to “sleep with the enemy”.

Magashule said the MPs would not face any repercussions for not participating in the vote.

At least 62 ANC MPs did not attend the voting session on Tuesday for yet-to-be-disclosed reasons.

Before the vote on Tuesday, ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe issued a line of march to party MPs at a special caucus meeting, where they we all told to vote in favour of a panel report that recommended the institution of impeachment proceedings against Mkhwebane.

Mantashe's line of march was at odds with the wishes of Magashule, who had told the Sunday Times a fortnight ago that no ANC MP would vote in favour of an independent panel report that stemmed from a motion initiated by the DA.

The controversial ANC S-G told the radio station that “funny things are happening”.

“The ANC cannot change its character, the ANC cannot sleep with the enemy. We have always defined [opposition], especially the DA, as the enemy of the revolution. So funny things are actually happening now,” Magashule said. 

“I think maybe what you don’t know is that a lot of comrades in the National Assembly who are ANC members did not participate in that discussion and voting.”

It was not immediately clear who the MPs were who did not participate, as parliament is yet to publish the full record of how MPs voted, an unusual move.

The record is normally published as part of the minutes of the sitting immediately after adjournment of the plenary session.

Parliament officials on Thursday told a meeting of the National Assembly's programming committee that the publishing of the names was delayed because the vote took place through the hybrid system and not the traditional manual vote.

They said the record needed some “cleaning up” before the names could be made public, as some MPs kept logging on and off the digital platform.

The ANC declined to comment when asked about some of its MPs’ non-attendance during Tuesday’s vote.

But Magashule has made it clear that no ANC MP would face disciplinary action for defying the line of march.

“What repercussion when they have done the right thing?” Magashule asked.

“No, the ANC had not discussed the matter. Caucus wanted ANC to discuss this matter and caucus itself wanted to discuss this matter, and they did not have time to do so because I think caucus itself was divided.”

Magashule sought to disregard the directive issued to MPs by Mantashe before the vote, saying the national officials, dubbed the top six, was not an official structure of the ANC.

Though Magashule sits in the top six, he said only the party’s national working committee (NWC) and the national executive committee (NEC) could take such decisions.

“The ANC has not actually finalised this matter because officials of the ANC are not a structure in terms of our constitution, so the matter will still continue being discussed by the NWC and the NEC,” Magashule said.

It was not immediately possible to establish how the ANC top six viewed Magashule’s remarks.

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