Editorial

ANC's lie about unity is put to the sword

10 August 2017 - 06:22 By The Times Editorial
August 8, 2017. ANC supporters during a march in KwaDukuza against to vote of no confidence to President Jacob Zuma.
August 8, 2017. ANC supporters during a march in KwaDukuza against to vote of no confidence to President Jacob Zuma.
Image: THULI DLAMINI

This morning finds South Africa in a reflective mood following the drama of President Jacob Zuma's close shave with the no-confidence vote on Tuesday night.

Some 48 hours later we are in fine fettle even though our dodgy president remains in the Union Buildings, although with one foot more out the door than it was before Tuesday's vote.

The decision to allow a secret ballot is an important precedent - and it is a precedent no matter how often Speaker Baleka Mbete says it is not. Mbete's decision will echo into the future of our country, helping to harden our robust democracy in ways we cannot yet imagine. It endowed our legislature with real teeth to sink into an errant executive.

Tuesday also saw finally the breaking of a tradition which saw MPs compelled to vote along party lines. A three-line whip couldn't stop nearly 30 ANC lawmakers from going their own way.

That's hugely significant and puts to the sword the ANC's lie about unity and common purpose, no matter how much the party tries to play it down.

The debate and vote contributed to a humbling of the ruling party, despite the crowing of the usual suspects. The ANC knows that it has to heal these fractures if it is to avoid being crippled in the elections of 2019. The party's chief whip, Jackson Mthembu, acknowledged as much in the moments after the results were in.

But, most importantly, Zuma has been separated from the herd. Significantly, none of the ANC heavyweights who spoke in the debate on Tuesday defended him and afterwards he was joined in celebration by a motley crew of the most compromised and corrupt.

Today he is more alone than ever, but remains - for the coming months at least - as an electoral asset for the opposition as they continue to hunt him down.

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