African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General Gwede Mantashe has come down hard on ANC MP Dr Makhosi Khoza for speaking to the media during the ANC's national policy conference.
Mantashe on Wednesday said he took exception to Khoza revealing that she had written to Parliament Speaker Baleka Mbete requesting a secret ballot in the motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma.
She told eNCA on Monday that the secret ballot was necessary, as her life was under threat following previous public announcements that were critical of Zuma's leadership.
Mantashe did not want to vilify ANC MPs, but took exception to MPs who were "following and pursuing publicity in the media", he told the SABC at the conference in Johannesburg.
Dr Khoza had been invited to the conference to participate, but instead took the opportunity to speak to the media before leaving early, he claimed.
He regarded it as "ill-disciplined to the superlative degree".
Khoza though told News24 on Wednesday that Mantashe was being unfair, saying he should have been more aware of what was going on with his members.
She sustained torn ankle ligaments on the eve of the conference. She was in pain and on crutches.
She decided to attend in spite of this at the invitation of the party, and only left on Monday after Deputy Chief Whip Doris Dlakude told her it was not advisable for her to be there in her condition, she said.
She had received a sick note from Milpark Hospital on advice from the ANC's own medical team, which put her off from June 30 until July 10.
Mantashe earlier would not be drawn on whether there will be disciplinary proceedings, but said the party will "advise her".
He said she was acting like a "suicide bomber", by trying to destroy herself and blow her organisation up in the process. She should have spoken to them first.
He could not be reached for further comment by News24 on Wednesday.
'I need the party to protect me'
Khoza said she only revealed her steps in writing to the Speaker in response to Police Minister Fikile Mbalula earlier that day labelling those who spoke out as "suicide bombers", and that they would be fired.
She said the term was not fair, as she was receiving death threats "on a daily basis", and the party had not spoken out about the culture of intimidation that was festering.
She only implored the Speaker to apply her mind, as she was getting desperate and has opened two criminal cases. She needed the party and the Speaker to protect her.
An ANC KZN councillor was gunned down in Richmond two days ago, and she is from that province.
"The secretary general cannot expect me to be intimidated and to keep quiet. If Mbalula is saying we are going to be suicide bombers, somebody is going to do the suicide on my behalf.
"It's my life at stake, it's my children's life at stake.
"If the organisation is going to keep quiet, must I keep quiet?"
So far she had only been reassured by ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu that she would be protected, but has still not heard from Mbete. Attempts to speak to Mantashe were deemed as not following protocol.
'Nobody threatened with dismissal for Gupta emails'
"You have Gupta emails, over 20 000 of them. Nobody is saying those people are going to be fired.
"Does it make sense therefore that people are going to be fired for speaking about the vote of no confidence, when not a single person has condemned these threats against me except the chief whip?"
She also said the secret ballot viewpoint can be justified.
"I believe we are the product of a secret ballot ourselves. The ANC was voted in via secret ballot. People of South Africa did not raise their hands when they voted for the ANC.
"But I also think it is wrong to be intimidated."
She was making enemies not in a personal capacity but as a result of her Parliamentary oversight.
Khoza posted to Facebook in May to say she could not vote for an "amoral leader", in reference to the then pending vote of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma.
Her post garnered negative responses from Zuma supporters, including the ANC Youth League in eThekwini.
Her home address in Durban had been distributed on social media by the Youth League, who had also called on its members to picket outside her house.