South African President Jacob Zuma survived yet another no-confidence vote on Tuesday, but the final tally showed just how divided the country’s parliament – and his own party – have become.
Zuma, facing the eighth attempt to remove him and this time with a secret ballot, saw 198 votes cast in support, 177 votes cast against him and nine abstentions. While the final tally fell in Zuma’s favor, some analysts point out that given his African National Congress (ANC) party’s majority, the numbers show the disillusionment within his own party for a president dogged by corruption allegations and an anemic economy.
Notably, the ANC statement following the vote defended the party and its MPs rather than emphasizing Zuma. “The biggest victor of today’s event is our constitutional dispensation,” the ANC said. “It once again reaffirms the ANC’s position as the leader of society in that the country’s MPs are able to exercise this critical constitutional provision aimed at safeguarding our democracy.”
The ANC also rejected the position of opposition leaders who characterized their MPs as “unprincipled and cowardly” for failing to oust Zuma, although by some estimates there were 40 ANC members who voted with the opposition.
For their part, the Democratic Alliance (DA) opposition party seized the moment to urge South Africa to leave Zuma and “an ANC that is totally divided against itself” behind.
“Jacob Zuma has survived, but he has nothing to celebrate tonight. He is mortally wounded, and his party is in tatters,” the DA said in a statement. The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) also issued a statement calling on South Africa to move beyond Zuma, and looking forward to the September court hearings that the president still faces.
Image: Republic of South Africa file