African National Congress (ANC) President Cyril Ramaphosa has defended the need for party MPs to toe the party line.

Ramaphosa 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 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.

“The thinking would have been which of the structures that we have in the state that would have greater effectiveness of investigating these matters and coming to a conclusion that prosecutorial processes should commence. It was thought at the time that other institutions [like] the Public Protector, the South African Police Service (SAPS) may have had a better grip on all these matters,” explains Ramaphosa.

Live stream of today’s proceeding is below:

‘ANC’s internal funding guidelines not suited for time we live in’

On Wednesday, Ramaphosa said the governing party’s internal party funding guidelines were not suited for the time we live in.

Ramaphosa dealt with the risks of corruption attached to the lack of transparency in the donations and funding political parties receive.

He said this was why the Political Party Funding Act that came in force at the beginning of April, was necessary.

However, he added the funding of internal party campaigns needed to be looked at.

Below is Ramaphosa’s opening statement made on Wednesday: