South Africa’s Deputy higher education minister Mduduzi Manana did not resign of his own will from his job but was instructed to do so by President Jacob Zuma, according to a report.
Insiders close to the matter claim that during a meeting with Zuma on Friday, Manana was given an ultimatum to either resign or be fired, Sunday Times reports.
The disgraced deputy minister – who apologised again in a statement on Saturday for assaulting two women at a nightclub in Johannesburg two weeks ago – is said to have received support from senior female ANC leaders during a heated meeting of the party’s national working committee (NWC) on Monday.
The paper reports that Water Affairs Minister Nomvula Mokonyane and former energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson argued against the ANC disciplining Manana, despite him admitting to the assault.
Their defence of the Manana was apparently in line with ANC Women’s League president Bathabile Dlamini’s controversial comments that other senior leaders within the governing party should also be disciplined before action could be taken against Manana.
“They said discipline in the ANC must be applied in general and that there must be no holy cows. It was shocking,” one insider told the paper.
“Mokonyane is said to have attacked Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. She said his public pronouncements on corruption implied that ‘all of us are corrupt’.
“Those at the meeting said secretary-general Gwede Mantashe came to Ramaphosa’s defence, saying the deputy president had never mentioned names,” the report stated.
Approached for comment on the claims, Mokonyane reacted angrily to the Sunday Times, saying she does not “leak information about ANC meetings” and declined to comment further.
Joemat-Pettersson failed to respond to phone calls and text messages when approached for comment.
The NWC meeting in the end resolved that Manana should be disciplined.
Meanwhile, it is also reported that during the NWC meeting Zuma’s supporters called for the heads of all MPs suspected of having supported the vote of no confidence against him in parliament two weeks ago. The vote was conducted through a secret ballot.
However, Zuma was apparently dissuaded by his fellow top-six leaders in an earlier meeting against a witch-hunt. The NWC agreed MPs who publicly revealed that they had voted with the opposition should be disciplined only, with MPs Makhosi Khoza, Derek Hanekom and Mondli Gungubele being identified as the main targets.
It is believed about 30 to 40 ANC MPs who broke ranks with their party and voted with the opposition to oust Zuma from power.