South Africa awaits no-confidence vote
Zuma has fought off 5 similar motions in 8 years as president.
Over his eight increasingly embattled years in power, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa has fended off five parliamentary no-confidence motions that would have forced him from office. He is to face another today, with a difference: Lawmakers will vote anonymously.
The speaker of Parliament, Baleka Mbete, announced late Monday afternoon that a vote of no confidence would take place by secret ballot, following a request from a coalition of opposition parties.
More than 60 of the 249 lawmakers from Zuma’s party, the African National Congress, would have to rebel for the motion to pass — something analysts still deem unlikely. But he may find it harder to contain a bitter factional struggle within the ANC, which has dominated South African politics since the end of apartheid in 1994.
Zuma has come under increasing pressure as evidence of high-level corruption in his administration has mounted, most recently with a trove of leaked emails that appeared to expose the extent of links between senior ANC officials and an influential family, the Guptas.
The motion requires only a simple majority to pass South Africa’s 400-member Parliament.
If the motion passed, Zuma and his entire Cabinet, including deputy ministers, would have to step down, with Mbete becoming interim president, though he would remain president of the ANC.
The party’s chief whip in Parliament, Jackson Mthembu, said Friday that voting against Zuma would be “tantamount to throwing a nuclear bomb” at South Africa and that only a “bewitched” party would vote against its own president.
After Mbete’s ruling Monday, a national spokeswoman for the ANC, Zizi Kodwa, said on Twitter that the party had “full confidence” that its members would vote to keep Zuma. And several small opposition parties, including the Communists, said they would vote against the measure.
Zuma has survived three no-confidence votes in Parliament. Another was amended into a vote of confidence, and then passed; yet another was withdrawn. He has also withstood an attempted impeachment motion, in 2016, and twice defeated votes challenging him as the party’s leader.
Leaked emails released in May, suggesting collusion between the Gupta family — which owns large companies in the technology, media and mining sectors — and senior ANC members, has built pressure on Zuma as South Africa’s economy has slid into recession, its first since 2009.
South African President Jacob Zuma faces a no-confidence vote today. More than 60 of the 249 lawmakers in his party have to rebel for the motion to pass.