Zuma’s presidency at risk from secret no-confidence vote. The motion requires the backing of a majority of the 400 lawmakers to pass.
South Africa’s parliament will vote by secret ballot Tuesday on a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma, National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete said, in a surprise decision that may increase the chances of his ouster.
“I have considered the environment and heard voices expressing doubt in the integrity and values of our 20-year-old Constitution,” she told reporters Monday in Cape Town.
“We, therefore, have to use this opportunity to show responsiveness to our people.”
The no-confidence motion requires the backing of a majority of the 400 lawmakers to pass. A secret vote increases the odds of Zuma’s ouster because members of the ruling party can vote him out without risking losing their jobs. Zuma, 75, who’s due to step down as leader of the African National Congress in December and as president in 2019, has defeated previous attempts to oust him.
The rand gained the most against the dollar since mid-July, jumping as much as 2 percent. It traded 0.1 percent stronger at 13.2169 per dollar by 7:27 a.m. Tuesday in Johannesburg. The yield on benchmark government bonds due December 2026 was little changed at 8.57 percent after dropping eight basis points on Monday.
About 4,000 people joined a march to parliament in Cape Town on Monday to call for Zuma’s removal. Roads across Gauteng province, which includes the capital, Pretoria, and the commercial center, Johannesburg, were barricaded on Tuesday morning.
Ben Turok, a former ANC legislator and outspoken Zuma critic, expects the president to survive the ouster bid. He believes a few ANC legislators will support it and some may abstain but it won’t be enough to carry the motion.
The main opposition Democratic Alliance filed the no-confidence motion in April after Zuma’s decision to fire Pravin Gordhan as finance minister prompted two ratings companies to downgrade the nation’s debt to junk. The opposition argued that since parliament elects the president by secret ballot, it should be able to use the same process to remove him. The nation’s top court ruled that the speaker should determine the voting procedure.
While there is mounting disgruntlement with the ANC over Zuma’s leadership and his immersion in a succession of scandals, the party says it will resolve its leadership issues internally and won’t allow its lawmakers to side with the opposition to bring down Zuma’s administration.
The ANC has ruled Africa’s most-industrialized economy since apartheid ended in 1994 and has a 62 percent majority in the National Assembly. Fifty ANC lawmakers and all opposition legislators would have to back the no-confidence motion for it to pass — a move that would force Zuma and his entire cabinet to resign.
Author: Staff Writer