Forcing ANC MPs to toe party line not unconstitutional - Mantashe

ANC Chairperson Gwede Mantashe says legislator voting on their conscience and not party line are betraying party position.

African National Congress chairperson Gwede Mantashe testified at the state capture commission on 19 April 2021. Picture: YouTube screengrab/SABC.

JOHANNESBURG - African National Congress (ANC) chairperson Gwede Mantashe said that forcing party MPs to toe the party line was not unconstitutional, but it supported the constitutional political party system.

Mantashe on Monday again testified at the state capture commission about parliamentary oversight and the role of the ANC in portfolio committees.

He said that it was the role of the secretary-general to ensure that MPs voted for positions supported by the party.

The ANC had previously been accused of forcing members to toe the party line even when that meant making
decisions against their conscience.

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Mantashe said that he believed that is not unconstitutional.

“Breaking the position of the party is a betrayal of the party’s position. You are saying to the party, ‘Yes you are the majority, but it doesn’t matter, we are free agents' then that undermines the party’s system. We
don’t have a constitutional system, we have a party system. It means that that party is a majority in theory but in practice it is never a majority because it is a party of free agents."

Mantashe, however, said that the ANC would respect court rulings that declared the party position unconstitutional.

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