South Africa’s parliament will postpone a no-confidence vote on President Jacob Zuma’s government after all, the Speaker of the National Assembly announced on Wednesday.
The debate and vote were scheduled for April 18 at the request of the Democratic Alliance opposition party and its leadership, in the latest round of attempts to oust Zuma.
Despite the DA’s role in spearheading the demand for a parliamentary vote, party leader Mmusi Maimane on Tuesday said the request to postpone while pressing for a secret ballot was sent to National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete.
“It is important to allow the Constitutional Court the time to determine whether the motion can be conducted by secret ballot, as we believe that this would materially affect the outcome of the vote itself,” the DA said in its statement. The DA previously objected to Mbete’s technical ruling on the motion postponement and accused the speaker of sidestepping the issue.
The decision came as a National Day of Action drew thousands of protesters to Pretoria in a rally jointly coordinated by the DA and other opposition parties who want the African National Congress (ANC) leader to step aside.
Zuma is facing renewed pressure to step down over his decision to reorder his cabinet including the removal of Pravin Gordhan, the former finance minister, as the economy fails and rand falls.
For his part, the South African president celebrated his 75th birthday in Soweto on Wednesday with renewed commitment to his ANC party and promises to find solutions to the country’s challenges.
Image: Republic of South Africa