Ramaphosa defends ANC MPs’ need to toe the party line
African National Congress (ANC) President Cyril Ramaphosa has defended the need for party Members of Parliament’s (MP) to toe the party line.
The South African President says it is practice the world over that parties exercise discipline over their members who are taken to Parliament on a party list and it is only in exceptional cases where he believes that members should vote with their conscience.
The ANC President said a number of considerations need to be weighed up as a collective by the caucus.
“You have got to look very closely at the consequences of that action. Because if you vote to remove a President in a vote of no confidence, what then ensues. Because when you do that you are actually imploding the executive and then you have to do all manner of things to reconstitute it,” he says.
“Members have to ask themselves, is that what we want and certainly if that is the desire that is collectively agreed to then that is what has be opted for,” explains Ramaphosa.
The ANC President says the issue of political party discipline is controversial and continues to plague even mature democracies.
Ramaphosa says a tension exists in South Africa’s constitutional framework that often makes the matter tricky to navigate.
“In a way there is a type of schizophrenic relationship there; cause the Constitution has given rise to a party system in our constitution but at the same time the very same Constitution in terms of the constitutional court decided recently about the freedom of every person to exercise their own political rights they stand as an individual,” says.
Regret over Gupta Leaks
Ramaphosa has also expressed regret that the ANC delayed in investigating state capture through Parliament’s committees when the allegations first emerged.
However, the President has denied that this was due to deliberate resistance.
Ramaphosa was responding to questions as to why the ANC chose to rebuff a proposal by the Democratic Alliance (DA) in March of that year that Parliament probe the allegations emerging from media reports on the Gupta family.
The ANC at the time made a counter proposal that those who had any knowledge of the matter go to the police or the Public Protector.