The South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) has thanked ANC MP’s who had the courage to vote in their conscience during the motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma.

The country’s second largest labour union, representing an estimated 700 000 workers and founded by ousted Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, said they join “millions of angry South Africans” who are demanding that President Zuma should be voted out of office.

We thank the ANC MP’s that did not “hide behind secrecy” during the vote, the organisation said.

“[Zuma has] turned the whole country into a mafia-style, lawless kleptocracy, in which the rule of law and democratic accountability are dead letters.

“[Zuma] transformed the African National Congress from being the leader of a national liberation struggle into a cringing apologist for a corrupt leadership.”

In the statement, Saftu criticised ANC-alliance partner the South African Communist Party (SACP) for declaring it will defend Zuma during the motion despite telling delegates at its national conference in July that SACP leadership will meet with the ANC to call for Zuma’s resignation.