A motion of no confidence vote in Pres. Zuma has been defeated, the fifth time such a motion has been brought in the National Assembly since 2012, after most of the ruling African National Congress MPs backed its leader following a heated, rowdy debate.
Announcing the outcome of the vote, deputy speaker Lechesa Tsenoli announced 126 MPs voted in favour of the motion and 214 against. There was one abstention, and very significantly 58 MPs did not vote at all.
There are 249 ANC MPs in the National Assembly, 89 Democratic Alliance (DA) MPs, 25 Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MPs, 10 Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) MPs, 6 National Freedom Party (NFP) MPs, four United Democratic Movement (UDM) MPs, four Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) MPs, three Congress of the People (Cope) MPs, three African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) MPs, three African Independent Congress (AIC) MPs, two Aganga SA MPs, one Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) MP and one African People’s Convention (APC) MP.
The motion was brought by the Democratic Alliance following the release of the Public Protector’s State of Capture report.
Debating the motion in the National Assembly on Thursday, political parties blasted Zuma, calling him corrupt and a Gupta president.
Deputy speaker Lechesa Tsenoli had a hard time keeping the peace as claws came out with political parties taking serious jabs at each other.
Nothing was off limits as MPs’ personal lives came into the fray and insults were shouted across the room.
But Economic Freedom Fighters chief whip Floyd Shivambu went even further and called Zuma a dictator who was “going to kill you”.
“He is going to arrest all of you, he is going to lock you up, he is going to kill you. He has nothing to lose now,” Shivambu said.
United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa did not hold his punches, calling Zuma an irreparably damaged leader.
He then slammed ANC MPs for supporting him.
“They are behaving like wolves, screaming in unison. Look at them, jumping from their chairs like popcorn,” he said.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane called for ANC MPs to put South Africa first and vote Zuma out.
Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi appealed to the ANC to help restore “the oldest political organisation”.
He did not want to see the ANC going down, he said, adding that the organisation was already crumbling and taking South Africa with it.
“All for the sake of one man,” said Buthelezi.
The debate was delayed when the EFF called for a secret ballot to vote Zuma out.
The MPs spent 20 minutes debating the merits of a secret ballot, with Tsenoli ruling that the matter should have been raised on the right platforms and the Constitution did not provide for it.
Chief whips then spent more time debating whether they should vote on voting.
The sitting was attended by hundreds of ANC and DA supporters.