All hopes have been tied to August 8’s vote of no confidence in the National Assembly. But for Zuma and his supporters, it is another crucial game that would give them the usual victory.
A number of political analysts have predicted how the new no confidence motion will turn out. While some believe that with the crack in the ruling party, the opposition is bound to win the hearts of most ANC MPs against Zuma, others believe it would turn victorious as usual for Zuma and his cronies.
Why will this not be a new issue of worry to President Jacob Zuma? It is because this is not the first time he had experienced but of course, Zuma should be jittery about the outcome of the vote considering the division in the ruling ANC which deteriorated after his controversial cabinet reshuffle.
About sixty ANC MPs have so far declared that they would vote against Zuma despite their party’s warning. This no confidence vote would be the ninth times the opposition will have tried to unseat him by through plea for support from some disgruntled members of the ruling party, whose majority has so far protected the President.
Since Zuma took office, five draft resolutions about motions of no confidence in the president have been brought before the National Assembly. Three motions of the motions were voted on, one was amended while one was withdrawn.
The most recent vote occurred on 5th April 2016 when the DA leader Mmusi Maimane proposed a vote to unseat Zuma following his ‘violation of the Constitution’ and the Nkandla scandal. This vote at the parliament failed as ANC helped Zuma win by 235 – 143.
In March 2016, Zuma survived one of the most threatening parliamentary votes that could have seen his outright removal according to the South African Constitution.
On the above date, opposition parties launched an attack on Zuma on the basis that he violated the constitutional law, engaged in gross misconduct and that he is incompetence in his service to the South African public.
The opposition reportedly backed up their attack with section 89 of the Constitution which states that “a president can be removed on grounds of violating the law, serious misconduct, or sheer incompetence in serving the public”.
Zuma, however, survived this gross battle by another comfortable margin – 225 – 99.
Next was in the line was on the 3rd of March 2015 when Agang SA MP Molapi Plouamma called for a no-confidence debate, citing that Zuma has destroyed economic growth, encouraged corruption, and allowed crime to spiral out of control.
He asked the Speaker Baleka Mbete to remove herself from presiding over the debate, but when she wouldn’t budge, Plouamma withdrew his motion.
Recall also that within that same period, Mvume Dandala from Congress of the People (COPE) proposed a no confidence motion against Jacob Zuma citing ‘failure to live up’ to the public’s expectations.
The motion was turned down or rather, renamed through the help of the ANC MP to “the house has full confidence in the president of the Republic of South Africa and appreciates his leadership of the government and nation”
This switch in language – turning a negative from a positive – according to AfricaCheck’s Kate Wilkinson, was agreed upon, and seemed to influence enough voters to keep Zuma in power (242-83).
On 17th March 2015, members of the parliament were forced to decide on whether or not there’d be a no confidence ballot after DA’s Maimane again called Zuma out on corruption and weakening the economy. The motion was defeated by 221-113.
Meanwhile, as the August 8 vote approaches, the ANC top officials have continued to warn its members not to take part in the vote against their own.
Though unlike the previous attempts, the August 8 vote of no confidence may not be open, the ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu has warned that the attack on Zuma would be yet another “nuclear bomb” that would finally destroy the South African country.
“We must never allow our current irritations to blind us to act in a manner that destroys everything we have built over the past 23 years as a young democracy. Voting in favour of this motion will be tantamount to throwing a nuclear bomb at our country.
“The removal of the President will have disastrous consequences that can only have a negative impact on the people of South Africa,” he said while stressing that any grievances with Zuma cannot be dealt with this way, and that it is ‘disrespectful to democracy’ trying to force him out when he has been voted in previously by a majority.