SACP accused of ill-discipline & arrogance

The ANC says it is not a structure of the SACP and as such shall not be dictated to by the communist party.

Leaders of opposition parties having a discussion in Parliament ahead of voting in the motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma. Picture: Lindsay Dentlinger/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – The African National Congress (ANC) has lashed out at alliance partner the South African Communist Party (SACP), accusing it of being ill-advised and arrogant.

This is in response to the communist party’s criticism of the ANC’s decision to institute disciplinary action against ANC Members of Parliament (MPs) who have publicly declared they voted with the opposition in the motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma last week.

About 26 ANC MPs voted in support of the motion, which failed.

ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe said earlier this week that while the party would not go on a “witch hunt” to sniff out those who voted against Zuma, three ANC MPs would be dealt with for publicly saying they would vote with their conscience.

This didn't bode well for the SACP-which accused the ANC of being factional and of quote “myopic campaign clothed in the name of discipline”.

The governing party has now hit back, saying The ANC is not a structure of the SACP and as such shall not be dictated to by the communist party.

Congress of South African Trade Unions also criticised the ANC for their decision to go after the three MPs, saying it should be the president who is subjected to discipline, adding that he is the source of all challenges facing the party.

WATCH: Zweli Mkhize: no confidence debate one of the most surprising

SECRET BALLOT VOTE BEYOND REPROACH

Parliament says last week's secret ballot process was beyond reproach and there’s no way of identifying how MPs voted.

This came in the wake of widespread calls within the ANC to charge those who voted in favour of a Democratic Alliance-sponsored no confidence motion in President Zuma.

The United Democratic Movement took their battle for a secret ballot all the way to the Constitutional Court to ensure MPs voted with their conscience, and not out of fear.

Parliament said its confidentiality measures were rigorous.In a statement, Parliament said given the public debate on how certain MPs voted, it wanted to reaffirm that it was impossible to trace the identity of the voters.

The ballot only contained three options: no, yes or abstain.Parliament spokesman Moloto Mothapo said similar confidentiality measures were employed during last week's vote, as those employed since 1994 for the election of the president and presiding officers.

“We believe that that seeks to undermine or to question the process that has been followed. In particular the secrecy or the confidential nature of it.”

The ballot boxes are being stored under lock and key in the archive, which may only be opened by order of the Speaker or a court of law.

‘ANC MEMBERS SPREADING DIVISION INSTEAD OF UNITY’

ANC KwaZulu-Natal chair Sihle Zikalala says there are senior national members who are spreading divisive rhetoric across the province instead of working towards unity.

Zikalala was speaking outside the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Wednesday after the adjournment of a matter into whether the provincial leadership of the ANC should be nullified.

Some disgruntled party members have taken the executive committee to court, claiming there were irregularities with the 2015 provincial elective conference.

Zikalala’s comments are in response to ANC NEC member Bheki Cele who at the weekend said the court case was not about individuals but because of the organisation’s failure to govern.

The ANC chair says he finds it convenient that the court case is only now being heard as the ANC prepares for its elective conference.

He says some leaders have instead opted to drag the party to court instead of sitting down and resolving issues internally.

Zikalala says it is even more upsetting to see ANC NEC members peddling internal party divisions

“If comrade Bheki Cele wants to resign, if he sees that there’s a weakness in the ANC NEC, he should be the first to quit.”

Zikalala says the ANC must sit down with its aggrieved members who have taken them to court and find a way to bring them that back into the party’s structures.

Additional reporting by Rahima Essop and Ziyanda Ngcobo.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)