South Africa: Zuma narrowly survives secret 'no confidence' vote in South African parliament

Cape Town, South Africa (PANA) – President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday came within a whisker of being removed from office but, for the eighth time, he survived a no confidence vote.

With tensions running high throughout the country, National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete permitted a secret ballot amid concerns that Members of Parliament of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) were too scared to vote against their own leader.

When the votes were counted, 177 MPs voted against Zuma and 198 for him. A simple majority would have seen Zuma and his cabinet removed and the results reflect that about 30 ruling party MPs voted against their own president.

While MPs traded barbs in a heated exchange, civil society groups and trade unions lead a massive march to Parliament in support of the call for Zuma to be removed. Protestors said the removal of Zuma would not solve every problem in the country, but it would be the beginning of a national rebuilding project that could unite the population.

Earlier, a wave of protests saw several main roads in Johannesburg and Pretoria blocked with burning barricades. Johannesburg police spokesman Wayne Minnaar said some of the protest action began as early as 4am.

Addressing the National Assembly during the 'No Confidence' debate, Mmusi Maimane, leader of the official opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), said MPs are united in their love for the country and their loyalty to the constitution. “We may have different opinions, but we are not enemies. All of us – black, white, Indian and coloured – want South Africa to work. To be the prosperous nation we know it can be.”

Reflecting on his upbringing in Soweto in the 1980s, he said: “I never imagined that one day I would be here, in this Parliament, fighting a new form of oppression – a corrupt system that keeps our people imprisoned in poverty”.

He said that since the dawn of South Africa’s democracy, the stakes have never been higher. “I know what Nelson Mandela, would have done in this House today. And you know it too. He once said ‘may your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears’. I am asking you today to overcome your fear, to show courage when the people of this country need you,” he added.
-0- PANA CU/AR 8Aug2017

08 august 2017 17:37:12

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