Despite the opposition parties’ confidence that they had the support of enough ANC MPs to meet the threshold of 201 yes’es, the motion of no confidence in President Zuma was defeated with 198 votes against, 177 for and nine abstentions on Tuesday.
The historic no confidence motion tabled against Mr. President was the eighth and the only one by secret ballot. The outcome was never really surprising, as it dawned on the opposition – once again – that ANC MPs valued Zuma over the Constitution and the people.
Opposition leaders in Parliament had, during the motion debate, called on ANC MPs to vote out President Zuma for running the worst and most corrupt government the country has ever had since the dawn of democracy.
Speakers from DA, EFF, UDM and other political parties asserted that Zuma’s government has failed to improve the lives of ordinary South Africans.
In particular, EFF leader Julius Malema said his party is no longer comfortable with the Guptas running the country and influencing most decisions in the government.
Shortly after the results were announced, Zuma addressed a cheering throng chanting his name outside Parliament. He thanked the ANC supporters for standing with him and the ruling party all through.
He also gave special thanks to “those ANC comrades in Parliament” who defended the ruling party through their votes.
Zuma told his supporters:
“I just come to say thank you to all of you. Those comrades in Parliament needed the support from the membership and supporters. You came in your numbers to demonstrate that the ANC is there, it’s powerful, it’s big.
It is difficult to defeat the ANC. we represent the majority of this country. They are pumping propaganda through the media that the ANC is no longer supported by the people. It is their own imagination. The ANC is supported by an overwhelming majority of the country.
They will realise that in 2019 when we win in a big number once again. We must thank comrades who are in Parliament, who went hard to defend the affliction congress in that area. I want to thank them very much.”
During the motion, the ANC lost its 35 MPs to the opposition. Never before had ANC MPs ever voted with an opposition motion. According to analysts, the opposition support is a clear indication that President Zuma’s electoral sheep are deserting him.
Despite losing to the ruling party, opposition leaders were optimistic. They promised to keep pushing until Zuma is dethroned.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane said he believes the debate was worth the wait after months of waiting for the motion of no confidence to be debated.
“What was encouraging today was that unlike in previous times, members of the opposition and members of the ANC stood together to say Zuma must go,” DA leader Maimane said.
Similarly, EFF’s Malema expressed happiness with the outcome despite the opposition not succeeding in their mission.
“Today [ANC MPs] voted against the people, but they must know they will pay a high price for this in 2019. However, this is actually going to give a lot of energy for the opposition to continue fighting going forward,” he said.
In response to the outcome of the motion, the ANC welcomed the results and promised to continue to address people’s grievances with the current government.