African National Congress (ANC) Chief Whip Jackson Mthmbu says there is no witch hunt for ANC MPs who broke ranks to vote against President Jacob Zuma in the motion of no-confidence vote.
While the motion was defeated by 198 votes to 177, the margin was only 21 votes.
This means at least 26 ANC MPs defied the party line, while the number could be as high as 35 if ruling party MPs were also responsible for all nine abstentions.
While Cabinet Minister Lindiwe Zulu acknowledges the secret ballot makes it difficult to identify the defiant MPs, she believes action should be taken against them.
Mthembu says that Tuesday’s mandate in the motion of confidence against the president was not to vote with opposition parties and has applauded those who defended the party.
He says the party is satisfied that the ANC did not take part in what would have been a suicidal move.
“We will not be going on a witch hunt because we are not that type of an organization. Other members of the opposition saying over 50 ANC MPs will vote with them, that is what Julius said.”
After at least 30 ANC MPs rebelled against instructions to vote to retain the president yesterday, some people in the party may feel it's time for yet another move within the ANC itself to remove Zuma.
They may believe that if they don't act soon, the rebellion against party discipline could grow and that more voters will lose faith in the party.
But Zuma and his allies are unlikely to remain still. He could try to discipline those who have spoken out against him.
Zuma has appeared to be on the back foot for most of the year. It's possible he could try to regain the political initiative but time is running out ahead of the ANC's December conference.