The ANC's chief whip on Tuesday afternoon lambasted ANC MPs who boycotted a parliamentary committee meeting led by Makhosi Khoza, saying the decision amounted to "gross ill-discipline".
The public service and administration committee chaired by Makhosi Khoza -- ANC MP and outspoken critic of the president -- was boycotted by ANC MPs, despite the party instructing those members to attend.
According to reports, only one ANC MP pitched to the committee meeting -- Nyami Booi -- in which public service minister Faith Muthambiwas expected to respond to allegations she spent close to R500,000 flying 30 people to Cape Town for her budget vote speech in May.
In a letter shared with HuffPost SA by a source in Parliament, ANC members of the study group on public service and administration objected to Makhosi Khoza being chairperson of the portfolio committee, saying she had violated the ANC's constitution in speaking out against the president.
The letter to the chief whip said the MPs would suspend all study groups and portfolio committees "until the conduct of Dr M. Khoza is addressed".
Following adjournment of the short meeting, Khoza said the boycott had "everything to do with the vote of no confidence". Along with at least two other ANC MPs, Khoza was vocal prior to the vote about her support for the motion to remove Zuma as head of state.
'ANC condemns the boycott'
The office of the chief whip said it received the letter, earlier leaked to media houses, and had responded to the group reiterating it "does not have the authority to suspend any work they are deployed to do as ANC deployees in Parliament".
"The suspension of any meetings and/or failure to attend individually and collectively constitutes ill-disciplined action on their part," a statement on Tuesday afternoon said.
The MPs who boycotted the meeting on Tuesday "after clear instructions from the chief whip" to attend would be referred to the ANC caucus disciplinary committee.
MPs were encouraged to allow their "real or imagined" grievances with Khoza to be dealt with by the organisation and not through an unsanctioned boycott.
"The matter of Dr Makhosi Khoza is being dealt with at an organisational level through the constitutional processes of the organisation. We therefore condemn today's behaviour with utmost contempt," it said.
The party said matters relating to last week's vote of no confidence "are being dealt with by the national leadership of the ANC", and cautioned study groups and ANC MPs not to engage in matters over which "they have no authority".
The DA, meanwhile, said it will refer Muthambi and the absent ANC members to the Joint Committee on Ethics and Members' Interests.
It said it was "appalled by the conduct" of those who failed to appear before the committee.