The ANC's alliance partners have spoken out in defence of MP Makhosi Khoza, condemning the death threats against her -- unlike the ANC which has remained silent on the matter.
Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said the federation is worried that public figures who are speaking out against corruption are not just being intimidated, but are also being vilified in public.
"We are in no position to condemn [Khoza] because she is saying exactly what we have said. We have said President Jacob Zuma must step down. We support her. If the ANC needed to discipline anyone, it should have disciplined the president," Pamla said.
"Khoza has not undermined the ANC, she is talking to the president. The organisation and its leader is not the same. Khoza has not gone to public and talked bad about the ANC. What she is saying is that the president should step down. Why is it that this leader should be defended to a point where the organisation becomes secondary?"
Worried for her safety
Pamla said Cosatu is worried about the death threats levelled against Khoza, especially because she is from KwaZulu-Natal, where political assassinations are most rife.
An inquiry into political violence in KZN has heard 89 people are reported to have died since 2014 without any arrests.
"We do hope that she is provided with a necessary level of security, especially when coming from KZN, it should not be taken lightly," Pamla said.
Khoza has been threatened with disciplinary hearings from within the ANC since she made public her views on corruption, further campaigning for a vote of no confidence in Zuma to be conducted by secret ballot.
Growing 'intolerance' within ANC
South African Communist Party spokesman Alex Mashilo said there is a growing atmosphere of intolerance within the ranks of the ANC-led movement.
"There are sections of leadership and membership across all levels that are happy about freedom of expression within the ranks of the movement -- but only for so long as that freedom of expression is in support of their views," Mashilo said.
He said senior leaders in the movement have, on occasion, also expressed views that are different from decisions made at conferences and structural meetings.
"Calls and condemnations for people to be taken to disciplinary hearings have become a factional football. If one leader says somethings that is at odds with what the movement decided, the faction behind that leader will welcome and even propagate it further," Mashilo said.
"But it is important to distinguish between matters of principal and factional manoeuvres. There are so many factional manoeuvres that are propagated in the name of principle."
Mashilo made it clear he was commenting on the movement and not on disciplinary issues within the ANC.
Mashilo said said threats won't unite the movement; it will only deepen divisions within it.
"Some people don't listen to others objectively, they listen to them factionally. They do not respond based on principle, they respond motivated by factionalism. This is the context where this or that leader will face disciplinary hearings by the mouthpieces of factions, while certain people who are glaringly and almost daily exposed for wrongdoing do not face such calls," Mashilo said.
He said the SACP condemns all forms of intimidation and threats, both in and out of the movement.
"Our own Solly Mapaila is living under the shadow of such threats; that is not democracy. It cannot be right for one individual to be chastised and another to be glorified for wrongdoing. This situation is intolerable. Discipline has to be consistent."
HuffPost SA contacted the ANC many times for a response but was unable to get hold of the spokesperson.