The ANC will not punish MPs who voted with the opposition in the motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma, party secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said on Friday evening in KwaThema, east of Johannesburg.
"We are not going to deal with those who voted with the opposition."
Mantashe said the ANC had dealt with only one MP, "because they voted with the opposition and then started beating drums that they voted with the opposition and then the person got in trouble".
ANC MP Makhosi Khoza is set to appear before the KwaZulu-Natal province's disciplinary panel headed by Ravi Pillay on Sunday after she stated publicly that she supported the motion. Khoza has been charged by the KwaZulu-Natal ANC for bringing the party into disrepute.
Mantashe warned that those who make it known that they voted with the opposition stand to be punished. He added that the reason the party had not sought to identify and punish other MPs was because it respected the Constitutional Court's decision. In June the court ruled that it was up to National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete whether the motion of no confidence would be decided by a secret or open ballot vote.
"We say as the ANC, we will abide by the decision of the Speaker. Even though the Speaker threw us under the bus... If we go and do a witch-hunt, we are going to open negative publicity on the ANC."
Standing behind Zuma, Mantashe added that MPs must swallow the pill and never vote with the opposition but rather "vote with the ANC with a heavy heart".
In August, shortly after the ANC won against the opposition on the secret vote of no confidence against Zuma, its national working committee decided that at least three MPs must face a disciplinary inquiry.
Mantashe had told journalists that three MPs that confirmed they voted with the opposition would be dealt with.
Khoza, ANC national executive members Derek Hanekom and Pravin Gordhan were rumoured to be facing the axe following the motion of no confidence vote in Parliament.
Gordhan and Henekom were fired during Zuma's late-night Cabinet reshuffle. The two men have been publicly critical of Zuma. -- News 24Suggest a correction