No confidence debate 'wasn't about Zuma'

The ANC says its decision to vote against the DA’s motion was about control of the country's political & economic destiny.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - African National Congress (ANC) MPs have rallied behind President Jacob Zuma, voting down a motion of no confidence in his leadership on Thursday.

Hundreds of ANC supporters celebrated in the streets outside Parliament after an acrimonious debate, in which Zuma was described as a dictator and an irreparably damaged leader.

ANC speakers defended Zuma, casting the Democratic Alliance(DA)'s bid to remove him as an attempt at regime change.

The ANC's Malusi Gigaba told MPs the fight wasn't about Zuma, but a battle for control of the country's political and economic destiny.

Ministers Malusi Gigaba and Nomvula Mokonyane defended Zuma, slating the motion as a bid for regime change.

“The motion we are debating today is really a phantom to mask the essence and nature of opposition politics in our country, and their quest to gain power by other means than the ballot box, using a black face to protect the interests of the white minority.”

"This so-called state capture has become the most recent Trojan Horse inside which the DA Spartans have hid in their new spurious attempts to waylay democracy.”

However, the opposition fired back.

“This is no longer about the voice of the opposition, NGOs, academics or religious leaders - the cry for the president to step down is echoing from all corners of the country,” the Inkatha Freedom Party’s Mangosuthu Buthelezi said.

The Economic Freedom Fighters’ Floyd Shivambu likened Zuma to brutal African dictators.

"They seek to enrich their families, they seek to undermine the rule of law and they have no regard for the Constitution."

The United Democratic Movement's Bantu Holomisa told the House many South Africans had lost confidence in Zuma’s “monumentally flawed” leadership.

“However, the ruling clique on this side of the house is behaving like wolves, screaming in unison to defend one of theirs at the expense of the country. They are showing South Africans the middle finger. Look at them, they’re jumping from their chairs like popcorn.”

The DA's Mmusi Maimane told ANC MPs they could choose between Zuma and the country.

“We can choose to sit back while our state is captured by the greedy and corrupt, or we can stand up against state capture. We can choose to elevate one man above the law, or we can fight for every person to be equal before the law.”

They chose Zuma, by 214 votes to 126. There was one abstention

Caucus spokesperson, Moloto Mothapo, says in the last two and half years, seven such motions had to be debated in the National Assembly all concluding with the same result. He says the DA “is notorious for abusing section 102 of the Constitution”.

But Maimane says the public can now see the ANC’s commitment to Zuma.

“When South Africans were saying he must go, from Cyril Ramaphosa to many others, they stood with him and simply defended Jacob Zuma.”

The ANC says the DA should wait for the outcome of the Public Protector’s recommended judicial commission on state capture, as it does take these allegations seriously.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)