3, April 2017
South African President Jacob Zuma may face another impeachment as the country’s parliament speaker says she would consider requests from opposition parties to hold a new no-confidence vote against the embattled leader. Parliament Speaker Baleka Mbete said Sunday after cutting short a trip abroad that an impeachment may be held against Zuma following his decision last week to sack South Africa’s popular finance minister.
Mbete said in televised remarks that the request for the no-confidence vote was submitted to her by the centrist Democratic Alliance (DA) and the ultra-left Economic Freedom Fighters Party (EFF). The two parties have asked the speaker to reconvene the parliament and hold an urgent sitting on the issue. Mbete is also the national chairperson of the ruling African National Congress (ANC). Her new announcement shows how she and senior members of the ANC disagree with Zuma’s removal of Pravin Gordhan.
Gordhan attended a memorial for an anti-apartheid activist on Saturday and called on the ANC supporters to mobilize against Zuma. Previous no-confidence votes against Zuma have failed as his ANC party, which has ruled South Africa since the end of apartheid in the 1990s, dominates the parliament.
However, Gordhan’s removal, which badly affected the markets, seems to have clearly undermined Zuma’s leadership in the ANC. More elements within the party are joining the opposition in calling for Zuma’s removal from power.
Even Zuma’s deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, has said that he disagreed with the decision to sack Gordhan, arguing that the move could downgrade South Africa’s credit ratings. The Communist Party, a key ally of ANC, also said Friday that “Zuma must now resign.” Zuma has lost a great deal of his popularity over the past years over a string of missteps and scandals.