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No confidence in Zuma motion: How events unfolded

By Charl Bosch - Mar 2, 2016
No confidence in Zuma motion: How events unfolded

The Democratic Alliance’s motion of no confidence vote in President Jacob Zuma was again struck off the records by Parliament on Tuesday, after the African National Congress (ANC) used its majority to rule out the application by 225 versus 99 votes.

In yet another heated and noisy sitting, which saw members from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) abstaining from the final vote, MP’s traded insults at each other with those from opposition parties, questioning Zuma’s credibility and fitness to hold office.

Speaking first, DA leader Mmusi Maimane said the country had reached one of its most important points since the advent of democracy, and that MP’s should think with their consciousness when voting.

Video courtesy of Tribe2Tribes on YouTube:

“Every one of the 8.2-million unemployed citizens in our country feels a sense of betrayal. They once had big dreams, dreams that diminish with every day that this President remains in office,” he said.

“Our President’s quest for power has never been about creating a more prosperous South Africa. It has always been about creating a more prosperous Jacob Zuma”.

He stated that the ANC under Zuma had been gone from being a liberation movement, to an organisation that only plays the race card when questioned, and that South Africans are starting to realise that they had been sold out.

“A sell-out is a person who puts his own interests before the struggle of his people; a person who secures an advantage for himself in other people’s suffering. And the biggest sell-out sell in our country is none other than President Zuma himself,” Maimane continued.

“He sold out when he recalled a sitting State President who stood in his way of absolute power. He sold out when he manipulated the National Prosecuting Authority to drop charges on 783 counts of corruption, bribery, money laundering and racketeering against him.

“Jacob Zuma sold out when he knowingly used public money to build his private house at Nkandla, and he sold all of us out to his friends, the Guptas. Everything this man does is to protect himself, his friends and his family at the expense of the Constitution, his oath of office and the people of South Africa”.

His continuing use of the word sell-out then resulted in objections from ANC MP’s, with some accusing him of using un-parliamentary language to describe Zuma. Frequent interruptions followed with Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli warning him to refrain from using offence language.

Maimane however continued, saying South Africans had lost confidence in Zuma and that the ANC should at least put their party first instead of the President.

Taking to the podium directly after, ANC MP Mathole Motshekga, said the DA had become obsessed with Zuma and were merely jealous at the progress made by the ruling party.

Video courtsey of Tribe2Tribes on YouTube:

“The motion on the table today is based on the anger and frustration of the DA, so there is no motion of confidence. Honourable Maimane has failed to make any progress in this regard,” Motshekga said.

“Your members are coming here with pipe dreams that there would be a motion. Your empty noises are leading to the confusion of your members”.

United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa later stated that the ruling party had given Zuma a chance and must now take him back, while Freedom Front Plus MP Pieter Groenewald accused the President of violating his oath of office.

“The oath of the President determines that he will protect and promote the rights of all South Africans. But to him, the interest of the ANC comes first. That is a violation of his oath,” Groenewald said to jeers from ANC MP’s.

Proceedings then turned heated when DA Shadow Minister of Finance, David Maynier, branded Zuma “a one-man wrecking ball” who, if not recalled, would continue wrecking the economy and South Africa.

“The President fired former Minister of Finance, Nhlanhla Nene and appointed a new Minister in David van Rooyen. He then appointed Pravin Gordhan to save us from the economic meltdown, but, just as the Minister was tabling a how-to-beat-ratings-downgrade budget, he was snubbed by President Zuma, who claimed the honourable van Rooyen was more qualified,” Maynier said.

He added that the move, which resulted in the Rand plummeting to its lowest level against the US Dollar, had been “a monumental self-inflicted stuff-up caused by the President himself”.

Minutes later, Congress of the People (Cope) MP Willie Madisha was ordered out of Parliament by an irate Tsenoli for continuing to speak over his allotted time.

“Honourable Madisha, are you deaf,” Tsenoli exclaimed, leading to DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen and Cope MP Dedire Carter complaining of the high noise levels inside the chamber. Tsenoli subsequently apologised for the comment.

African Peoples Convention (APC) MP Themba Godi then ruffled feathers by saying the party had lost confidence in the DA, who he accused of intentionally misleading the House by again opting for the no confidence motion.

“We agree the President must leave at the end of his current term. But it is our opinion, that the misuse of this vote devalues it. We have debated this motion before and the arguments now are the same. We therefore cannot support this,” he said.

Speaking at the end of the just over three hour sitting, Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu described the motion as “silly” and that the ANC has full confidence in Zuma.

“You can shout all you want, but the truth is that the people of South Africa have faith in President Zuma,” she said to the opposition benches.

“We are a working, caring government headed by a caring President. Contrary to the leader of the DA, this motion should be against the opposition who has chosen the low-road of theatrics instead of rigours polices and ideas”.

A final statement by Maimane to have the vote accepted eventually fell through.