‘Let them f ire me’
Makhosi Khoza remains defiant about publicly voicing her disappointment with the ANC
Feeling vulnerable and under threat, and with no protection offered by the powers-that-be – these are some of the reasons that prompted ANC MP Makhosi Khoza to publicly voice her dismay about the governing party and its leadership. “She believes that speaking out will save her, that it is her only refuge and that when she speaks out, she will somehow be safer,” said a source who had spoken to Khoza.
City Press understands that these were the reasons Khoza gave to ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu this week, when he sought an explanation for her public attacks.
Mthembu confirmed that he had spoken to Khoza before issuing a strongly worded statement on Friday in which he called for the party to take action against her for “extreme ill-discipline”.
Mthembu told City Press that he was not calling for action against Khoza over her views, but rather, for raising her views outside of the party structures and in the media.
Mthembu is also understood to have previously defended Khoza when some in the ANC, including the ANC Youth League, threatened to protest outside her home and called for her to be removed from her parliamentary seat because of her hostility towards President Jacob Zuma.
Mthembu said he had written to National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete and to ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe about Khoza’s safety concerns. He had also spoken out against the alleged threats made on Khoza’s life during a parliamentary debate.
In March, Parliament condemned the death threats allegedly received by Khoza when she led the portfolio committee on public service and administration on an oversight visit in Mpumalanga.
In April, Khoza wrote candidly about an “injudicious ANC leadership” on her Facebook wall. While some called for her to be disciplined, the ANC did not take action.
It is understood that leaders like Mthembu warned her not to speak publicly about party issues.
This week, Khoza gave media interviews during the party’s National Policy Conference, held at Nasrec in southern Johannesburg, and dared the ANC to fire her for calling for a secret ballot vote in the motion of no confidence against Zuma.
“If the ANC is going to be firing me because I am saying we have to listen to the people that elected us, so be it. I am not going to resign. Let them fire me. Let them define themselves that they are no longer the ANC that I know,” she told a Gauteng-based radio station.
This after she was asked to comment on recent remarks made by Police Minister Fikile Mbalula, who is also a member of the ANC’s national executive committee. Mbalula had likened ANC MPs who voted against party instructions and with the opposition on the motion of no confidence in Zuma to “suicide bombers”. He said they would be committing political suicide and would be disciplined.
Khoza told Rapport: “I have never been accused of preying on the children of my friends to satisfy my own sexual desires.”
Khoza said she had written to Mbete, requesting that voting be done by way of a secret ballot on the said motion to remove the president.
Mthembu accused Khoza of casting aspersions on ANC MPs by saying she doubted whether ANC MPs had the necessary morality to make their own decisions.
“We take serious exception to such utterances as they seek to question the calibre of our MPs,” he said.
“ANC MPs are tried and tested cadres of the movement who have, in their own name and right, contributed immensely to the attainment and advancement of our democracy.”
He denied Khoza’s claims that she was not allowed to raise her views in ANC caucus meetings, saying the opposite was true as the ANC’s constitution encouraged members to raise their concerns inside the movement’s structures.
An ANC source, who had previously sympathised with Khoza, questioned her intentions. “How do you continuously rubbish the movement and its leaders and continue to defy the ANC? It looks as if she is daring the ANC to kick her out.”
Khoza referred City Press to her Facebook wall when contacted for comment.
Meanwhile, opposition parties want Mbete to make a decision about using the secret ballot, without involving them. This after the Constitutional Court ruled last month that the National Assembly Speaker has the discretion to determine whether a motion of no confidence should be voted upon by a secret or open ballot.
The DA, the Economic Freedom Fighters, the United Democratic Movement and the Inkatha Freedom Party are questioning the process that Mbete has initiated in making her decision on whether to use the secret ballot or not.
Parliament announced that despite the court clarifying that the power to decide on voting procedures rests with the Speaker, Mbete had invited interested parties to submit their views regarding their preferred means of voting on this motion.
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OUTSPOKEN Makhosi Khoza has put on a brave front in the face of threats from the ANC