Jacob Zuma’s latest no-confidence vote wrapped up with him emerging as an apparent victor. The opposition fell short of gaining the 201 votes that were necessary to finally toppling the Presidency of Jacob Zuma.
It must, however, be noted that Zuma’s latest no-confidence vote was different from the seven previous motions of no-confidence brought by the opposition against President Zuma. For one, they got their wishes to have the ballot cast in secret and as a result, Zuma’s latest no-confidence vote saw the closest ever margin to finally saying goodbye to Zuma.
According to the results announced by the National Assembly’s speaker, Baleka Mbete, 198 MPs voted against, compared with 177 in favour and there were nine abstentions. “Therefore the motion of no confidence in the president is accordingly negative,” declared Mbete.
Although Mbete declared unequivocally after announcing the results that “the motion of no confidence in the president is accordingly negative,” President Zuma obviously escaped by a hair’s breadth.
Economic Freedom Fighter’s leader Julius Malema used this African proverb later on while speaking about the vote: “When you want to eat an elephant you do it bit by bit”. It is only one of the statements made that serve to show the complexity of Zuma’s latest no-confidence vote.
After some deliberation here are the real winners and losers from Jacob Zuma’s Latest No-Confidence Vote;
President Jacob Zuma
President Zuma undoubtedly won in this vote. He cemented himself as a political survivor this being his eight no confidence vote. His win was despite a mountain of evidence on his incompetence and the corruption of his government which has been shown again and again over time.
This latest no-confidence vote came as a result of his sack of respected finance minister, Pravin Gordhan in a widely criticized cabinet reshuffle. That terrible move probably pales in comparison to the allegations levelled against him in the state capture report but despite it all, he rode his party’s support to come out on top.
The opposition did not actually lose despite not being able to get rid of Zuma. With the help of the secret ballot, they have been able to show the growing lines of division in the ANC. Previously, the ANC has remained steadfast in their support for Zuma but on Tuesday, about 30 of the 223 ANC MPs who voted sided with the opposition.
It is the first time that such a significant number of the parliamentary caucus rebelled and defied the party whip and it shows just how unhappy they are with the President. The ANC suffered its first major electoral setbacks since Nelson Mandela’s historic victory in 1994 last year when it lost control of three major city governments in Pretoria, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth.
Now, with trust in Zuma collapsing across the board; several polls have shown that across race and class, the people’s trust in the President has collapsed since he resumed his second term in 2014; the ANC may face several significant defeats going ahead, giving the opposition an upper hand.
As we have explained above, the ANC was a big loser of the night with the divisions within the party unfurling in the run-up to their five-yearly national elective conference in December. It is at the national elective conference that the party will elect a new President of the party to succeed Zuma and as the MPs now seem to be on a different page, it will definitely be bloody.
The party also has to face the prospect of losing its majority in the national polls for the first time since 1994.
The country itself seems to have been the biggest loser in the vote as they get to continue with a President who has let them down time and again. Zuma may be going in 2019 but that gives him time enough to do a lot more damage to the economy of which he has already done more than enough.