The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal says it will not defend Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba or any other minister should President Cyril Ramaphosa choose to remove them from his Cabinet.
The president has been under pressure to fire Gigaba, who has been at the centre of numerous controversies. The controversies include:
- a leaked private video of him engaging in a sexual act,
- the Constitutional Court's dismissal of his application for leave to appeal a finding that he lied under oath about approving the Oppenheimers' private terminal at OR Tambo International Airport; and
- Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane reaching similar conclusions to the court in her own investigation into the Oppenheimer scandal.
Gigaba has refused to resign and has sought to drum up support among some in his party, claiming that he was targeted.
He claimed there were people who never wanted to see him become president and even went as far as accusing Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises of being part of a "campaign" aimed at destroying him.
The minister, who also serves as an ANC national executive committee (NEC) member, told Isolezwe last week that there would be "hell to pay" if he was ever removed from the governing party.
"I don't know what he meant by potential consequences. I really don't know... But in the province, we are very sceptical not to be involved in what may appear to be a defence of any of the ANC leaders on the basis that they are coming from our province," provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli told News24.
"That undermines the standing of the province and reduces us to a particular tribe, which is not the case," Ntuli added.
The provincial secretary said he did not believe Gigaba's comments should be linked to KZN just because he came from there.
He pointed out that the minister had taken on a national role in the party as far back as the mid-1990s when he served as the ANC Youth League president and thereafter as an NEC member.
"Whatever decision the president decides to take, in relation to any of the comrades serving in Cabinet, KZN or any other province, the president would be doing what the Constitution and what the NEC empowers him to do," noted Ntuli.
Ntuli said Ramaphosa had KZN's full backing and emphasised that "whatever decision he takes, he is taking all of us along with him".
No rebellion Although some leaders and KZN residents have thrown their weight behind Gigaba, the provincial secretary's sentiments have been shared by some within the party.
This is against the belief that there could be a rebellion from structures in the province - a view which Ntuli would not even entertain. "No structure here will rebel against the ANC on his behalf. If that is what he believes, he is wrong, completely ill advised," said one provincial executive (PEC) member, who spoke to News24 anonymously.He said Gigaba had no real presence in the province and could not expect to drum up support and cause chaos just because he felt that he was under siege. "That's lunacy of the worst order. No ways," added the PEC member.
Meanwhile, some ANC branches opted to continue showing Gigaba support, with his name making the cut among those members wanted to send to the National Assembly after the 2019 elections.
This is part of the party's list process, which allows its members to nominate names of people they want to see serving in Parliament and in provincial legislatures. Gigaba nominated This week EWN reported Health Minister and ANC national executive committee member Aaron Motsoaledi was heckled as he pleaded party members at the Maphoto branch to not nominate Gigaba.
An ANC member closely linked to Gigaba told News24 the minister was being nominated to serve across the country, with the Eastern Cape, Free State, Limpopo and his home province of KwaZulu-Natal including his name on lists of those they wanted to see serving at national level.Ramaphosa indicated that he would meet the Public Protector's deadline to take action against the minister, which is set for Wednesday, November 14.