South Africa’s president survives no-confidence vote

South Africa | Majority of the Parliament says corruption allegations are false
by Onize Ohikere
Posted 11/11/16, 11:34 am

South Africa’s Parliament on Thursday defeated a motion to remove President Jacob Zuma from office. The motion, put forward by the opposition Democratic Alliance party, followed a report by a state watchdog agency accusing the administration of multiple corruption scandals. The parliament rejected the motion by a 214 to 126 vote. The latest motion is the third in the past two years by the Democratic Alliance against Zuma and the ruling African National Congress (ANC). ANC Deputy Secretary General Jessie Duarte said at a rally following the vote the ruling party defeated the “opportunistic” motion and the “forces of darkness.”

“We fought for this country, we will keep this country in our hands,” Duarte said. “It will not be owned by the backward [Democratic Alliance].”

A state watchdog agency last week released a report that said Zuma and some of his associates had allowed the Guptas, a wealthy Indian family,  to meddle in political decisions for personal benefits. The report recommended a judicial commission investigate the allegations.

The Democratic Alliance said it knew a win was unlikely, but still wanted the public to see the corruption within the ruling party.

“[Parliament members] have chosen to sustain in office a president whose corruption is robbing our country of its massive potential and bright future,” said the Democratic Alliance leader, Mmusi Maimane. “If they would not support us in ending the corruption of Jacob Zuma, then it was important for the public to see for themselves how far the ANC has fallen.”

The Nelson Mandela Foundation, run by colleagues of South Africa’s first president and founder of the ANC, expressed disappointment in Zuma. The foundation said Zuma had failed the test of leadership and called for him to step down.

Some ANC members also openly voiced their dissatisfaction with Zuma’s leadership. Ben Toruk, a former anti-apartheid activist and ANC parliament member, said Zuma is a disgrace to the country and has undermined the democracy and integrity of the State, according to Al Jazeera.

Ebrahim Deen, a researcher with the Afro-Middle East Center in Pretoria, South Africa, said support for Zuma is waning across the state.  He noted South Africa’s local government elections in August, in which the ANC lost the capital, Pretoria, and its surrounding metropolitan area, including the Nelson Mandela Bay area. The Democratic Alliance won three of the country’s six largest municipalities in the election.

“There’s a move for ANC to take corrective measures because if this trend continues, we could see the party no longer being the ruling party,” Deen said. If Zuma’s supporters within the party continue to stifle opposition, Deen cautioned, “we may even see a split in the party in the long term.”

Onize Ohikere

Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.

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