Uhuru-Spirit News


August 08, 2017 | Uhuruspirit

President Jacob Zuma

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) on Tuesday defeated a vote of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma by a group of the country’s opposition parties led by the Democratic Alliance.

The latest no-confidence motion was brought by the Democratic Alliance, the largest opposition party, in response to a cabinet reshuffle in March, in which Zuma sacked, among others, the former finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. The removal of Gordhan had triggered a nation-wide anti-Zuma campaign. Following the cabinet reshuffle, the economy was downgraded to "junk" status by two ratings agencies.

But many ANC supporters see the anti-Zuma campaign as an effort to destroy the ANC or to weaken it ahead of the 2019 elections. Some say that the anti-ANC-regime-change plot has found some opportunistic supporters within the ruling party due to the up-coming elective congress in December.

On Monday, ahead of the vote, fears were created when the speaker of parliament, Ms Baleka Mbete, took an unprecedented decision and ruled that Tuesday’s vote would be held through a secret ballot to protect the identities of those renegade members of the ANC who wanted to vote with the opposition to unseat Zuma’s government.

But all the efforts collapsed on Tuesday as 198 people voted against the motion of no confidence, while 177 people voted in favour. There were nine abstentions. About 30 renegade ANC MPs had voted for Zuma to be removed. A simple majority of 201 votes was required to remove Zuma as president.

Zuma has now survived the 8th attempt to remove him since 2009 when he came to power.

“I never imagined that one day I would be here in this parliament fighting a new form of oppression,” Maimane said during the debate on the motion. “A corrupt system that keeps our people imprisoned in poverty. If you told me that one day our democratically elected president would end up corrupted and captured by a criminal syndicate, I would have never believed you. But here we are.”

In their response to the opposition on Tuesday, ANC MPs argued that the party remained united behind Zuma, and had set up internal processes to deal with accusations of corruption and poor governance. The no-confidence motion was dismissed repeatedly as an attempted power grab by the opposition.

“[The opposition] are using the constitution so as to collapse government, deter service delivery and sow the seeds of chaos in society so as to ultimately grab power … Shame on you!” said Doris Dlakude, the ANC’s deputy chief whip.

ANC members in the chamber began singing shortly before the results were announced, while supporters outside started to dance.

A jubilant Zuma, who would have had to resign with his Cabinet if the motion had succeeded, promised the ANC would win the next election in 2019 "in a big number once again." He dismissed "propaganda" that said his party no longer has the people's support. Then he broke into song.

"We will never endorse or vote in favor of any motion that seeks to cripple our country," the ANC said, calling the vote an attempt to remove the party from power.

Some party members denounced those who voted against Zuma as sellouts, and chief whip Jackson Mthembu said the party would consider disciplining them.

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