South Africa: 1000s to March in Zuma No-Confidence Vote

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Protesters clad in Democratic Alliance colors carried posters with the slogan “Fire Zuma,” while others depicted a cartoon version of Zuma in a dustbin.

South African President Jacob Zuma | Photo: Reuters

Source: TeleSUR TV / The Dawn News / August 8, 2017

Protesters blocked roads and burned tires to show opposition to South African President Jacob Zuma.

The demonstrations took place just hours before parliament is due to vote on a no-confidence motion, which threatens to oust Zuma.

Protesters clad in Democratic Alliance (DA) colors carried posters with the slogan “Fire Zuma,” while others depicted a cartoon version of Zuma in a dustbin.

The vote will be a secret or anonymous ballot; one opposition hopes will encourage members of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) to vote to unseat the president. On Monday, National Assembly Speaker, Baleka Mbete, qualified the decision to hold the secret ballot stating it was in the best interests of the country.

“The people of South Africa look to Parliament to give direction during challenging times. We must dare not underestimate this privilege and responsibility,” Mbete told the media in Parliament.

“The people of South Africa also look to Parliament for signals of hope. I have considered the environment and heard voices expressing doubt in the integrity and values of our 20-year-old Constitution.”

The ANC has 249 seats in the 400-seat parliament and the opposition controls 151 seats, so it would take 50 ANC lawmakers backing the opposition to vote out Zuma and his cabinet.

The ANC in the Dullah Omar Region applied for 15,000 participants to march from the Grand Parade to Parliament, according to City of Cape Town spokesperson Hayley van der Woude.

Also, a Multi-Party Notice group, which includes the DA, Economic Freedom Fighters, Inkatha Freedom Party, African Christian Democratic Party and ZumaMustFall movement, is expected to march.

More than 25,000 people are expected to participate in the protest.

Police and local law enforcement agencies are deployed and some roads, including Roeland street, will be closed.The embattled leader, who has been in power since 2009, has faced numerous accusations of corruption and economic mismanagement – all of which he denies.

In March, Zuma garnered the ire of investors by relieving finance minister Pravin Gordhan of his position. The country’s credit rating plummeted to a junk rating from two of the top three agencies, unemployment rose to a 14-year high of 27.7 percent and the economy is in recession.

The ANC – which he has been the head of since the end of apartheid in 1994 – is divided.

And enactment of the motion, which was brought to parliament by the DA party, asserts that “Jacob Zuma has brought our nation to its knees.”

Opposition parties also planned a march in Cape Town, where parliament is located, to further push for Zuma’s removal. While his ANC party members are expected to rally support for him.

Zuma’s tenure as South Africa’s president is due to run until 2019, when national elections are expected.

He has survived no less than eight no-confidence votes, one for each year that he has been in office. As a result, ANC’s Jackson Mthembu confidently quipped: “This motion, just like others before it, will be defeated.”

But, Derek Hanekom – who was removed as tourism minister during a cabinet reshuffle – posted, in contrast, urging a vote against “massive looting and corruption. Vote for change”.

If Zuma is removed from office, he will retain leadership of the ANC – for which he has endorsed his ex-wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to succeed him – until December when he is expected to step down.

Former trade unionist and one of South Africa’s wealthiest politicians, Cyril Ramaphosa, is also gunning for the leadership of the party.

The National Assembly will be charged to elect a new national leader within 30 days of Zuma’s exit.

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