The ANC would not be blackmailed into removing President Jacob Zuma from office, chief whip Jackson Mthembu said on Thursday.
The EFF has vowed not to let Zuma speak in Parliament until action is taken against him, a move which Mthembu has termed “political blackmail”.
At a press conference in Parliament on Thursday, the chief whip came out strongly against the EFF’s continued pledge to prevent Zuma from speaking.
The EFF has declared Zuma “illegitimate” and does not believe he should be allowed to address Parliament.
Mthembu reiterated that the ANC had accepted Zuma’s apology.
“We can’t be blackmailed by people to say that if the president doesn’t go, then there will be chaos. There is nothing in the Constitutional Court ruling that says the head of state must not speak in Parliament,” he said.
He said if the party gave in to blackmail, they would be forced to do it over and over.
“Even if you have this president going because we have been blackmailed into chaos, you will have another one going because you will continue to be blackmailed. Where will it stop? Where will the political blackmail stop?”
He said they had consulted branches of the ANC in the matter, which showed they did not treat it lightly.
Mthembu said there might be issues when other parties wanted to tell the ANC that its president must leave office.
“Who are you to tell us that?”
Call for tighter security in Parliament
The ANC has called for more stringent security processes in Parliament.
This follows allegations that EFF leader Julius Malema’s bodyguards were in the National Assembly on Tuesday when the party was forcefully removed from the House.
They had allegedly protected Malema and assaulted the parliamentary protection services.
Mthembu said the only solution to the “so-called stand-off” in Parliament was for parties to obey the rules.
EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi on Thursday said the party made no secret of the fact that they did not believe Zuma should speak in Parliament.
“We do this because we believe in the principles that we represented in the Constitutional Court and that we defended each time Zuma came to Parliament. For us, our voters will vote for the EFF, whether Zuma is president or he is not.
“We remain principled and we shall continue to be consistent in application of that principle,” he said.