Mthembu cautions on JZ’s removal
Ouster will be disastrous for SA
THE ANC caucus in Parliament yesterday stuck to its guns in rejecting the motion of no- confidence in President Jacob Zuma, saying his removal would be like throwing a nuclear bomb to the country.
Briefing the media ahead of the Tuesday debate, chief whip Jackson Mthembu insisted that Zuma’s removal would not be in the best interests of the country.
He added current “irritations” should not blind public representatives to act in a manner that destroyed everything built since the dawn of democracy.
“Voting in favour of the motion will be tantamount to throwing a nuclear bomb… The removal of the president will have disastrous consequences that can only have a negative impact on the people of South Africa,” he told a media briefing in Parliament.
“It will result in the entire cabinet having to resign, which will lead to the collapse in government with long-lasting ramifications. It will plunge our country into complete political instability and economic uncertainty,” Mthembu said.
The briefing was called to clarify the stance of the ANC caucus days before Parliament convenes to debate the motion.
The Constitutional Court’s Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng ruled that Speaker Baleka Mbete has the discretion to decide whether the vote should be a secret or an open ballot.
Mbete has yet to make her decision but opposition parties have threatened legal action if it is not a secret ballot, while the ANC said it would accept whatever decision.
The governing party wants loyalty from its MPs but pressure is mounting that they use their conscience when casting their ballot. Mthembu said Zuma’s removal would thrust the country into uncertainty the ANC has not prepared for.
“This will inadvertently negatively affect the poor and working-class the most as they are dependent on government for their livelihoods. If we say we are at the level of junk status just imagine what will be the impact of this move in the economic environment. Our view is that it will be just negative,” he said.
He rubbished the DA-sponsored motion as a political ploy to maximize their gains at the expense of the country.
Mthembu, however, said the decision to vote against the motion should not be seen as defending or protecting an individual.
“We did not get into a struggle to defend any individual. We got into the Struggle to serve our people and the country. We are protecting our country and our hard-fought democracy.”
This was despite the ANC having a history of defending Zuma from the time of his rape trial to when the security upgrades at his Nkandla home- stead were probed. Mthembu took a swipe at the opposition parties for wanting the ANC MPs to support the motion.
EFF leader Julius Malema has said about 60 have indicated they could vote for the motion if it was conducted in secret while the UDM’s leader said yesterday he had spoken to about 70.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane this week made a “sincere appeal” to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to influence the ANC to back the motion.
“It is hypocritical of the opposition to want ANC MPs to defy their party mandate when they do not allow the same in their own parties,” he said.
Mthembu said it was wishful thinking by the opposition that ANC MPs would vote for the motion.
“I have seen and heard other party leaders say there are about 60 ANC members who will put their vote in the positive block. We are saying there is no such thing. We will vote against the motion because it is crude and a populist attempt to unseat a popularly elected government by the opposition,” he said.
Jackson Mthembu has warned that the removal of President Jacob Zuma could bring chaos.