On Tuesday the 8th of August, President Zuma once again survived another vote of no confidence.
As little as 31 or as many as 40 “rebel” African National Congress MPs may have voted for the motion of no confidence in Pres. Zuma.
1st scenario; 31 ANC votes against Zuma
There are officially 151 opposition MPs in Parliament. Two members of the Democratic Alliance, one member of the United Democratic Movement and another member of one of the opposition parties were absent for the vote, which leaves us with 147 opposition MPs.
One Pan Africanist Congress’ MP openly stated that he would abstain from the vote.
If the remaining 146 opposition MPs had therefore all voted in favour of the motion of no confidence, 31 ANC MPs would have needed to break ranks with the ruling party in order to reach the total of 177 “yes” votes in favour of the motion.
There was a total of nine abstained votes, meaning that apart from the PAC MP mentioned above, another eight MPs abstained from the vote.
If, in the highly unlikely scenario that all eight of the remaining abstainees were among the ranks of opposition parties, only 139 votes in favour of the motion could have come from opposition MPs.
In this unlikely scenario, 38 ANC MPs would have needed to vote against Zuma.
2nd Scenario: 40 ANC votes against Zuma
In this scenario we factored in the fact that MPs from the National Freedom Party (NFP) and the African Independent Congress (AIC), two minor opposition parties, may not have voted in favour of the motion alongside the larger opposition parties.
The AIC is in an alliance with the ANC in the Ekurhuleni metro in Gauteng while Zuma in 2014 extended somewhat of an olive branch to the NFP by appointing the party’s leader, Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi, to his Cabinet as the deputy minister of science and technology.
Both factors could possibly have influenced the NFP and the AIC’s decisions for Tuesday’s vote.
The NFP has six MPs and the AIC has three.
If we subtract these nine MPs from the total number of 151 opposition MPs who could possibly have voted for the motion of no confidence, along with the four absent opposition MPs and the PAC MP who indicated he would abstain from the vote, we would be left with a maximum of 137 opposition MPs who could have voted in favour of showing Zuma the door.
This means that 40 ANC MPs would have needed to side with the opposition in order to reach the total of 177 “yes” votes.
These scenarios are merely educated guesses and should not be viewed as factual pronouncements on the number of ANC MPs who chose to side with the opposition.