The jobs of African National Congress national executive committee (NEC) members who also serve as cabinet ministers and who spoke out against President Jacob Zuma will not be affected for speaking out.

“We don’t have this thing called ministers who talk in the NEC as ministers. Deployment is a different matter and I’m sure [that] if they made a call that call in a cabinet meeting‚ that question would be relevant. Those members were given a right [and] allowed to continue to discuss an issue raised in that meeting‚” said ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe.

Mantashe said this while answering a question to whether or not members who questioned President Jacob Zuma’s fitness to hold office would be recalled or reprimanded for speaking out against the party leader.

“Our view is that nobody will be treated in a different way because [they] happen to raise an issue in the NEC meeting‚” added Mantashe.

He was adamant that no minister would be questioned about their contribution in the NEC meeting‚ saying “it cannot work that way‚ it will not be allowed to happen by the NEC” because that would then mean future cabinet ministers would be deprived of voicing their concerns in the party‚ for fear of victimisation.

A briefing was held at the party’s headquarters on Tuesday to discuss the outcomes of the NEC meeting‚ at which senior leaders nearly came to blows and the knives came out for those who questioned the president’s fitness to hold office.

Tourism minister Derek Hanekom‚ who sits on the ANC’s NEC‚ is said to have broken ranks with Zuma’s backers when he filed the motion of no confidence in Zuma‚ which is further set to show the deep divisions in the governing party.

A motion of no confidence was tabled against Zuma at the meeting which took place at St George Hotel in Irene‚ over three days. According to reports‚ Hanekom‚ Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi asked the president to resign. They were strongly supported by ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu.