19/02/2017 14:09 SAST | Updated 20/02/2017 15:40 SAST

Mathews Phosa: 'I refuse to have my coffin buried in the same graveyard as such leaders'

This is my Damascus moment, says ANC stalwart, writing of the chaos in Parliament during President Zuma's State of the Nation Address.

Gallo Images / City Press / Leon Sadiki
Mathews Phosa

I won't be part of the intellectual funeral of the African National Congress (ANC) and I won't be buried next to those corrupt leaders, said ANC stalwart Mathews Phosa.

"I had a Damascus moment this year at the opening of Parliament when Speaker Baleka Mbete callously, coldly and clinically refused to allow Parliament to bow their heads to show that they feel the pain of the families of the 94 who had died because the government looked the other way," wrote Phosa in the Sunday Independent, referring to the chaos in the National Assembly when President Jacob Zuma gave his annual State of the Nation Address (Sona). Phosa was in the gallery watching events unfold.

"A president who had been found not to have honoured his constitutional oath of office had only laughter to offer when members of Parliament were treated to PW Botha-style unconstitutional assault."

Phosa is a former premier of Mpumalanga and is a member of the ANC.

"I realised, deeply and painfully, in watching this, that I have come to a point where I refuse to be part of the intellectual funeral of the ANC, that I refuse to be associated with so-called leaders who trample on the people who voted them into office, who disrespect the constitution, whose only predictable response to all challenges is 'racism' and who are willing to sacrifice the future of our children before the throne of a man who knows no shame and shows no character.

"I refuse, as a disciplined cadre of this movement, to have my coffin buried in the same graveyard as such leaders who have made the choice to place their own corrupt interests above that of those that we swore, yes swore, to serve.

"It is enough, I say, enough."

Phosa said he knew what he wrote would land him in the firing line, but that silence was connivance.

He begged Zuma to resign. "Please, for once, serve your people, and go. Go now. If you don't, history will judge you to be the chief architect of the destruction of the ANC."