11, November 2016
South African President Jacob Zuma has survived a no-confidence vote, the third in less than a year, over what the opposition called “reckless leadership.” “I think the no’s have it,” Deputy Speaker of Parliament Lechesa Tsenoli ruled on Thursday, after lawmakers of Zuma’s African National Congress (ANC), which controls almost two-thirds of the assembly, voted against the motion.
After a heated debate, 214 lawmakers voted against the motion and 126 voted in favor. The vote came despite opposition parties calling on ruling ANC lawmakers to remove Zuma. Earlier on Thursday, Mmusi Maimane, leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA), urged Zuma to quit power and called on ANC lawmakers to vote him out of office. “To put it plainly, we can choose Jacob Zuma, or we can choose South Africa,” Maimane told parliament, adding, “Many of you have been speaking out against him in recent weeks … I know that there are men and women in these ANC benches who want to do the right thing.”
The no-confidence motion was tabled by the DA, which argued that Zuma had wreaked havoc on South Africa’s “infant democracy” by being involved in various corruption and influence-peddling scandals. Zuma had managed to weather two previous no-confidence votes. The 74-year-old, who has been in office since 2009, enjoys strong loyalty among ANC lawmakers and many party activists, particularly in rural areas.
The vote came days after South Africa’s top watchdog issued a report, detailing the president’s relationship with the Guptas, an Indian business family accused of wielding undue political influence. The report raised fresh allegations of misconduct in Zuma’s administration.
Zuma is already gripped in a series of corruption scandals. He was found guilty by South Africa’s highest court in March, after he refused to repay taxpayers’ money used to refurbish his private rural house. A court has also ruled that Zuma should face almost 800 corruption charges over a multi-billion dollar arms deal in the 1990s. Zuma has appealed the ruling.