OUTSPOKEN ANC MP Salam Abram has abruptly resigned from his party and is now calling on voters to cast their ballots against the ruling party, with just two weeks before the general election.
Abram announced his resignation from the ANC during an address to the Cape Town Press Club yesterday.
While other disgruntled ANC members such as former cabinet minister Ronnie Kasrils have called on voters to spoil their votes in protest against the ANC, Abram said such a move would not help.
The ANC has dismissed Abram’s resignation as “nonsense and insignificant”.
Abram urged voters to consider voting for one of the opposition parties as the ANC had drifted away from its liberation struggle principles.
“Voters should not fail to make a personal and positive contribution to the future of our beloved country and people … exercise your vote wisely,” he said, adding that former president Nelson Mandela’s vision of a rainbow nation was fading away under the current ANC leadership.
“Unfortunately that dream … does not exist. The ANC is not the ANC that can carry that legacy forward … On May 7 I will be voting for a party that I believe will fight tooth and nail for our constitution.
“All I want is to assure you that it will definitely not be the ANC and that it will be a party that I perceive to have the right values to propel this country forward, where the leadership can be trusted,” he said.
Abram’s resignation came against the backdrop of a frosty relationship between him and the ANC leadership in parliament following his public spats with Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson.
He also landed in hot water after he defied the ANC by calling in sick when the party needed all its MPs in parliament when the controversial Protection of State Information Bill was passed into law by a majority vote.
ANC chief whip Stone Sizani subjected Abram to disciplinary action after he called Joemat-Pettersson a liar during a portfolio committee meeting last year.
But the disciplinary action was abandoned early this year and Sizani was later quoted by newspapers as saying Abram had apologised to Joemat-Pettersson and promised to “kiss and make up” with the minister.
ANC parliamentary spokesman Moloto Mothapo said they were too busy campaigning to dignify Abram’s “nonsense with a response”.
“I’m sure many people did not know him until he pulled these stunts. He is somebody who always seemed lost in the corridors of parliament and the only time one got to remember his presence in parliament was when, in a live committee meeting, he called the minister a liar.
“He is quite insignificant for us really,” Mothapo said. – Aphiwe Deklerk