Zuma confident as DA, EFF rally ahead of vote

07 August 2017 - 06:02 By NEO GOBA, NATASHA MARRIAN, MOIPONE MALEFANE and Bongani Mthethwa
HIGH-STAKES POKER President Jacob Zuma plays the race card, again blaming South Africa's many ills on 'white minority capital' Picture: Reuters
HIGH-STAKES POKER President Jacob Zuma plays the race card, again blaming South Africa's many ills on 'white minority capital' Picture: Reuters

President Jacob Zuma appeared unfazed by the looming vote of no confidence in his presidency, instead returning to his tried and tested white monopoly capital script in Pietermaritzburg yesterday.

The embattled leader delivered a keynote speech characterised by jokes at the unveiling of the statue of the late ANC and SA Communist Party veteran leader Harry Gwala.

Although Zuma made no mention of the vote, due to take place in parliament tomorrow, he took the opportunity to lay into the SACP, which has said it will support Zuma's removal as President.

He criticised the Communist Party for denying the existence of "white monopoly capital".

"The land was taken from us and we don't have land and the land is owned by whites. The economy was also taken from us and the economy is owned by whites. They are dominating the economy.

"Why is the SACP denying that there is white monopoly capital in South Africa? People who should be leading us to kill this system, which is said to be a crime. Why are they defending it now? Do you [the SACP] have friends there?"

Analysts suggest that Zuma might have reason to be calm ahead of planned nationwide protests, some of which will kick off today. The DA has called for the vote of no confidence in Zuma and has the backing of other opposition parties - but for the vote to succeed the opposition parties will need almost 50 votes from ANC MPs.

In Cape Town civil society groups will today march under the banner of #Unitebehind.

The DA has organised eight protest events for tomorrow.

Opposition parties will join for a march in Cape Town tomorrow at 2pm, and the ANC's Western Cape branches will lead a counter march. 

Analyst Shadrack Gutto said the likelihood of the no-confidence vote succeeding was slim "because ANC members are there because they have been deployed, not because they were elected by the people".

"It is impossible for ANC MPs to break ranks and vote with the opposition because that would end their employment in the National Assembly. The majority of them have no future beyond politics.

"In reality, it's a question of what the party tells you to do. If the party finds out that you voted otherwise, it can remove you from parliament . if they do so, it means all cabinet ministers and deputy ministers will be removed, more than 100 of them. It will be asking people to vote themselves out of their work.

"Many would rather vote for their stomachs than vote for the constitution and principled leadership."

He said that even if some ANC members wanted to vote Zuma out they would only be voting him out of the government and out of office as ANC president.

Political analyst Keith Gottschalk said: "I take it for granted that the speaker of parliament will refuse to allow a secret vote.

"We will probably see the DA and the EFF bringing court applications."

Speaker Baleka Mbete is expected to announce today whether she will allow the vote to be by secret ballot.

Oppostion parties the EFF, UDM and DA said they would consult one another before revealing what they would do if Mbete did not give the go-ahead for a secret ballot.

DA federal chairman James Selfe said Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng had provided an outline for rationality in the Constitutional Court judgment on the secret ballot.

United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa said he would "check the energy of the country" before taking a decision on "the way forward".

"It is the ANC on trial in this set-up. If Cyril Ramaphosa, Blade Nzimande and Pravin Gordhan vote for Zuma, who will trust them towards 2019 [general election year]?"

Yesterday 101 ANC veterans and stalwarts wrote an open letter to ANC MPs urging them to vote with their conscience and remove Zuma.