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Mbete allows secret ballot for Zuma no-confidence vote

Speaker says decision is in the best interest of the country.

CAPE TOWN – The speaker of South Africa’s parliament ruled on Monday that a motion of no-confidence in President Jacob Zuma brought by opposition parties will be held through a secret ballot – a decision which increases the chances he will have to step down.

The decision could embolden members of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) to vote against Zuma and puts him in a precarious position as he struggles to fend off opposition accusations of corruption and mismanaging the economy.

Parliament will vote on the motion on Tuesday and if it succeeds, Zuma, in power since 2009, and his entire cabinet would have to step down.

The rand strengthened against the dollar, bond yields fell and banking shares advanced after the announcement, encouraged by the increased prospect of Zuma’s removal.

Rand performance


Zuma’s sacking of respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan in March shook South African markets, undermining his authority and threatening to split the ANC which has governed since the end of apartheid in 1994. The economy slid into recession in March and was downgraded to “junk” status by two ratings agencies.

Speaker Baleka Mbete, who is also the ANC national chairwoman, told a news conference that her decision was meant to ensure the outcome of the vote was credible.

“The speaker must do that without fear or favour,” Mbete said in her speech. “This decision is about putting the resilience of our democratic institution to test.”

ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa said the party was not surprised by Mbete’s decision and it supported it. The ANC has vowed to back Zuma in parliament.

“We have no doubt that this frivolous motion, which has been hyped up by opposition parties…will fail like many before it,” Kodwa said in a statement.

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 said last week its lawmakers would have to be “bewitched” to vote for the no-confidence motion.

Eight previous such motions against Zuma have failed with the ANC backing the president, but they were all held through an open process.

Zuma’s critics wanted the vote to be anonymous in the hope that it would encourage ANC lawmakers to support his removal by shielding them from pressure from other party members.

No excuse

The main opposition Democratic Alliance party urged ANC lawmakers to vote Zuma out.

“ANC MPs now have no excuse,” DA leader Musi Maimane said.

ANC lawmakers appeared divided on the vote.

“Tomorrow is the beginnings of an opportunity,” said one ANC lawmaker who declined to be named.

Another, who also declined to be named, said: “We are committed to defend our movement.”

Zuma is due to quit as ANC leader in December. If he is forced to step down as South Africa’s president, the speaker takes over and the National Assembly is expected to elect a new national leader within 30 days, in effect meaning the ANC would select the new president and government.

Some analysts said Zuma could still survive the vote.

“The skeptical view could be that they have consulted widely enough, the ANC whips, to know whether it really doesn’t matter if they hold it in secret or open. Jacob Zuma is going to survive so they felt safe in saying go for it,” NKC African Economics analyst Gary van Staden said.

Thousands of people took part in protest marches in April calling for Zuma, 75, to step down. The ANC on one hand, and the DA and civil society groups plan to rally on Tuesday outside the parliament in Cape Town during the vote.

Data released on Monday meanwhile showed South Africa’s unemployment rate remained at a 14-year high of nearly 28 percent in the second quarter. The statistics agency said the country was in a “precarious position” of not creating enough jobs to make a dent in poverty.


Read: ANC MPs would have to be ‘bewitched’ to vote Zuma out

After the announcement, opposition party Democratic Alliance urged ANC MPs to vote Zuma out.



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Great news! Check mate Zuma.

Apart from this great news can someone please explain. I’m watching a live stream and the speaker has not made the announcement yet. How is it possible to have this news out before a live stream has even got to the point (it is now 16:12 pm)?

I watched a live streaming of her speech on news 24 and it came through at the correct time

Live broadcasts are seldom so live. In some countries, state broadcasters have an electronic delay to enable censorship. there used to be a seven seconds delay in USA but there are cases where it’s longer. Were you watching SABC or Parliamentary or ANN7 channel?

ENCA. ANN7 would distort the truth by simply being biased with comments. They are so far from being objective.

Yes! Baleka Mbete has made the correct decision for the country. By tomorrow this time, she will be the acting President of South Africa. I am not convinced that she would make a good permanent President, but so be its for 30 days.

The revenge of Jacob Zuma is still going too show its ugly face.

Good for her……….I doubted this would happen.

Maybe a small change for the better for SA.

Balot : a food in the Philippines consisting of duck eggs incubated almost to the point of hatching and then boiled….
Wonder if the esteemed speaker had this in mind for JZ ?

Chances of the motion of no confidence being carried are less than me being crowned the sexiest man alive…

I think this is great news for South Africa. Maybe not the final blow to Zuma yet (he must already worked out a plan B), but it is clear that his own ranks are closing in. At least the outcome of this vote will give clear insight into the division within the ANC. This is very powerful information to bring them down (and the ANC knows it). I see 3 potential scenarios:

1. Less likely scenario: No confidence vote succeed by delivering more than 201 votes of no confidence.
2. Possible scenario: Less than 200 votes are obtained, but very close sending a very clear signal to the ANC. This will serve as a strong barometer (for the ANC) and will demonstrate the degree of dissatisfaction within the leadership of the ANC. The leadership will subsequently work on a plan to remove Zuma ASAP.
3. Strong interference by the ruling party: The leaders within the ANC manages to convince the other leaders that this is catastrophic for the ANC and the country). They will subsequently come to an agreement that ensure that Zuma is removed at the appropriate time (but fast tracked). This will be in exchange for their votes of confidence in the president. The main reason for this is not to break to the demands of the opposition parties, but to maintain power.

My bet is n no. 3 as this is the lowest risk option for the ruling party and its leadership as this give each leader an opportunity to develop his/her own set of conditions (this is of particular importance for the incapable, corrupt, etc. leaders). The outcome of the vote will be the indicator of what scenario the ANC opted.

What utter rubbish – twitter comments are that a secret ballot LESSENS chance of JZ being ousted- which I agree with. Rand is up because JZ will live another 18 months – & then ex wife takes over!

Careful now. We may call a secret ballot to get you to stop inciting anger with comments like this one you just made. The Rand is up because there is a glimmer of hope. Not because of JZ surviving another 18 months, and certainly not because you may now come back to rescue or to save our South African souls.

I dont see a Zuma exit anytime soon, I hope for one though. To me the rot is so widespread that the only way to fix it is self destruction, and with Zuma out, the self destruction programme slows down. To me, he needs to hang in there with his band of questionable ministers, some known to cheat on spouses, some known to flout regulations, some known to assault women. These types of individuals make news headlines and seemingly continuously remind citizens who not to vote for in 2019. To me this helps the self destruction out of government, in some parts of the country (I do see and hope for Gauteng, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape opposition governments in 2019). We may face adverse market movements from time to time till complete self destruction (which may not happen soon), but at least the rot is slowly rid of.

I believe even this decision is a well worked out ANC scheme, Every word Mbete said sound more as a well planed Bell Potti report. She was unable to make any previous decisions on her own, and even now subsequently must be guided by Con Court, and all of a sudden has the interest of the country at heart, but in 8 previous motions all pro Zuma and pro ANZ.

ANC already confirm its stance, will vote as a “block” against “No Confidence”, there is just to much to loose for the 249’rs, than country interest, we are talking jail time, and not just the loss of status or income.

To much to loose for the ANC as an organisation, and I don’t think that all of the opposition either want to get rid of JZ, and will also vote against the “No Confidence”, as JZ-Gupta and kie is a voter magnet for the opposition, and why would anyone in politics want to get rid of probably their most favourable advantage over the ANC. Politics is about power, and rule, votes and getting votes from your opposition, the rand and economy is just a casualty of war for politicians.

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