The Office of the ANC Chief Whip in the National Assembly has confirmed the resignation of ANC MP Dr Zukile Luyenge, who defected to the African Transformation Movement (ATM).
At a press conference on Friday, Luyenge confirmed that he would be leaving the ANC after nearly 30 years in the party.
In a statement, spokesperson for the Office of the ANC Chief Whip Nonceba Mhlauli said that chief whip Jackson Mthembu confirmed Luyenge's defection, after it was reported in the media.
"In light of this development, we will write to the Office of the Speaker of the National Assembly informing her that Dr Luyenge is no longer a member of the ANC, therefore immediately forfeiting his seat as an ANC MP.
"The ANC is currently processing his replacement and will make an announcement in this regard at an appropriate time," Mhlauli said.
The ATM rose to prominence when former government spokesperson, and former owner of The New Age and ANN7 Mzwanele Manyi, joined the little known party in January this year. Manyi told News24 on Sunday that Luyenge's defection vindicated his and other ANC members' decision to leave the governing party.
"This confirms that indeed the ANC continues to disappoint a lot of people who have been loyal to it over many years. Dr Luyenge has been a very loyal and disciplined member of the ANC, and for him to come to this conclusion confirms that we who left earlier are vindicated," Manyi said.
Luyenge said in a statement and in an interview with the People's Assembly that he cut his teeth in struggle politics by joining the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union in 1989. As an employee of the Department of Correctional Services in the Transkei, he came into contact with political prisoners who "conscientised" him. This led to his arrest, and he later joined the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco).
He joined the National Assembly as an ANC MP in 2009.
In announcing his resignation, Luyenge expressed his "unreserved gratitude" to the ANC.
"Without aligning my political ideals to it I wouldn't have seen my country liberated from the chains of oppression... It is because of the freedom today that we are all able to align ourselves with political parties and civic organisations of our choices."
Luyenge said the ANC had shown "signs of decline" in 2018.
"I have taken a decision to join the African Transformation Movement as it is one party that has shown me to have the perfect formula to transform South Africa for the better," Luyenge said.