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Zuma survives no-confidence vote

November 10, 2016

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has survived a vote of no-confidence in his leadership. The opposition DA has been pushing for Zuma’s resignation in the wake of allegations contained in the 'State Capture' report.

Demonstrators with placards reading "Zuma must go!"
Image: Reuters/M. Hutchings

South Africa's main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, last week called for the vote of no-confidence in President Zuma after he was implicated in the so-called State Capture report drawn up by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. The document alleges that Zuma gave undue influence to the Gupta family.

The report, however, fell short of clearly stating that crimes had been committed. Instead it called for a judge to investigate if Zuma, his cabinet members, or a number of state institutions had acted unlawfully in their dealings with the wealthy Gupta brothers. The Guptas run a business empire in South Africa which includes media and mining. Zuma and the Gupta businessmen deny any wrongdoing.

In a statement issued on Wednesday and reported by News24,  the ANC dismissed the motion against Zuma as a frivolous ritual. Jackson Mthembu, South Africa's chief whip in parliament said the DA was making another attempt to end Zuma's term prematurely. "By calling for this motion, ostensibly on account of the Public Protector's State Capture report, the DA is deliberately putting the cart before the horse," Mthembu said in a statement. He said there was no evidence in the report that showed that Zuma was guilty of allowing 'State Capture'.

The State Capture report has rattled investors in what was once Africa's biggest economy and there are growing fears of a credit ratings downgrade.

A close-up portrait of President Zuma
South Africa's President Zuma is under increasing pressure to resignImage: Reuters/M. Hutchings

The DA defended its decision to introduce the motion saying it wanted to show that it was the listening and humble organization it claims to be. Observers say the opposition is using the motion to remind South Africans of Zuma's failings. Political analyst Ralph Mathegka said the motion was unlikely to succeed.

This is the third time this year that President Zuma has had to face a no-confidence vote. The DA also mounted a vote of no-confidence against him after the Constitutional Court ruled that he had broken the law by failing to pay back public money which was used to upgrade his private Nkandla residence. Then Public Protector Thuli Madonsela was also instrumental in putting together the case against Zuma.

The ANC controls nearly two-thirds of the 400 member National Assembly but a number of key figures from the ruling party have also joined the opposition in calling for Zuma's resignation. His leadership has been hit by scandal after scandal and the ANC experienced its worst drubbing since the end of apartheid during municipal elections in August 2016.

cm/(Reuters, AFP)