‘Action against Khoza not a threat to other MPs’
THE ANC has dismissed suggestions that the disciplinary charges levelled against its defiant MP, Dr Makhosi Khoza, was a warning shot to those who wanted to vote against President Jacob Zuma in Parliament on August 8.
And ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa was also adamant that Zuma would address the Women’s Day celebrations as head of state on August 9.
“President Zuma, whether there is a secret ballot or not on August 8, will address the Women’s Day celebrations the following day as president of the country and as the president of the ANC,” Kodwa told The Star yesterday.
The ANC national executive committee (NEC) has taken a decision that the party’s public representatives should not vote with the opposition to unseat Zuma.
This came in the wake of the NEC throwing its weight behind Zuma after he twice survived calls to step down made by senior party members such as Joel Netshitenzhe and Derek Hanekom at NEC meetings.
The party’s stance has prompted calls within civil society and the opposition that Speaker Baleka Mbete should decide on a secret ballot for the motion of no-confidence on August 8.
There is widespread belief that some ANC MPs who are unhappy with Zuma would vote him out if Mbete granted the secret ballot.
Opposition parties have been claiming that they were aware of some ANC MPs who wished for a secret ballot, fearing the consequence if they voted otherwise in an open ballot.
At least 51 ANC MPs need to vote with the opposition to obtain a 201 simple majority, if the motion is to succeed.
Khoza is but one who came out in the open to call on Zuma to step down and asked Mbete to decide on a secret ballot, after she received death threats when she maintained that she would vote with her conscience.
Kodwa would not speculate on what would happen to MPs who would break ranks.
“We can’t speculate on what will happen,” he said before dismissing suggestions that the action against Khoza was a message to other ANC MPs to toe the line.
Khoza, who is accused of breaching 11 party rules, has not been suspended.
Kodwa said it was disingenuous for people and opposition parties playing double standards to expect ANC MPs to vote against their own when other parties did not do the same.
“In Mogale City, the EFF is taking action against the councillors who voted against its council position,” he pointed out. “In the debate in the Western Cape Legislature on the motion of no-confidence in Premier Helen Zille, the DA will expect its MPLs to toe the party line,” Kodwa added.
Political analyst Protas Madlala said the chances were slim that Mbete would decide on a secret ballot.
“The court did not instruct her, but it said she must use her discretion,” Madlala said.
He added that it was unlikely that ANC MPs, especially those in the executive, would vote themselves out of their jobs.
“If there is a handful of them, the question is whether they will be the majority, but I doubt it,” said Madlala.
He added that it was common for parties to expect their members not to vote against a party decision.
FOR a while, Dr Makhosi Khoza held the moral high ground with the chattering classes. She became their darling when she criticised her party and her leader, President Jacob Zuma, in public and asked him to step down.
But she didn’t stop there. She made it clear that she, a member of the ANC in Parliament, would vote with the opposition on August 8 when Zuma faces a vote of no confidence in the National Assembly. And she would do so whether or not the vote was held in secret.
She gained sympathy when it emerged her life and the lives of her family had been threatened – yet nobody seemed to care much.
When the ANC said they would haul her before a disciplinary hearing, she claimed she was being targeted because she was a woman.
What’s more, she claimed she was being made an example of to prevent other MPs from being outspoken. But a somewhat different picture has emerged. Khoza has been charged all right, but the charges are not for criticising Zuma or campaigning against him in the run-up to the vote of no confidence.
Instead, she has been charged with raising issues outside of the established ANC structures.
Put simply, Khoza ran to social media and the traditional media, instead of raising her issues within her party. Most recently, she had the option of doing so at the ANC’s policy conference, but chose not to.
What’s more, when party leaders tried to call her to discuss her grievances, she did not take their calls or get back to them.
The date Khoza will appear before a disciplinary committee is also interesting… the matter has been set down for September 10.
That is more than a month after the vote of no confidence in Zuma takes place in Parliament.
So, barring Khoza being suspended, she will take part in the vote and, in all likelihood, will vote against Zuma.
All of this tells us two things: First, the charges the ANC has brought against Khoza seem to be more about party discipline than protecting Zuma.
Second, the ANC is so confident that Zuma will survive the motion of no confidence on August 8, they don’t need Khoza’s vote.