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‘Help us remove Zuma from office’

Mmusi Maimane told ANC MPs to put politics aside and find the courage to vote for Jacob Zuma’s removal.

FILE: DA leader Mmusi Maimane in Parliament. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN/JOHANNESBURG - Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane’s delivered an impassioned plea to African National Congress Members of Parliament (MPs) to "do the right thing" and help remove President Jacob Zuma from office.

Maimane kicked off Tuesday’s debate on the motion of no confidence in Zuma.

Earlier, ANC MPs entered the National Assembly chamber singing in praise of Zuma, who attended this morning’s ANC caucus meeting but is not in the House.

Economic Freedom Fighters MPs sang back at ANC MPs, saying Zuma must go.

Pravin Gordhan, Derek Hanekom, Makhosi Khoza and other ANC MPs who have spoken out against the president sat quietly.

Maimane spoke against a backdrop of almost continual heckling by ANC benches.

Maimane told them to put politics aside and find the courage to vote for Zuma’s removal.

“Do the right thing today – vote with your conscience and remove this corrupt and broken President from office. I plead [with] you let us put the people of South Africa first and vote to remove Jacob Zuma today.”

Maimane explained the provision for a vote of no confidence was made for one reason only.

“It did not say if you move that motion, you are moving for regime change. It only sought to say if you move that motion, you are moving for accountability which is what we’re her to ask for today.”

Maimane will also have the last word in the debate – after which voting by secret ballot will take place.

The DA leader was the last to address the House.

“Helen Suzman once said: “There is a chill running down this Parliament, it is seeking a spine.
And I fear that today we will prove whether will act courageous for our people or courageous for Jacob Zuma.”

He says South Africa is united in what it wants.

“This motion was not moved by a particular race, it was moved on behalf of the people of this country. Labour, business, religious communities and South Africans stood in unison outside here, black and white, and called on you to do the right thing today.”

WATCH: Jacob Zuma no confidence debate

ANC deputy chief whip Doris Dlakude was up after Maimane. She says members of the governing party know how to vote.

“The ANC rejects this motion with the contempt it deserves.”

But the EFF's Julius Malema told the House that history would judge them.

“You are writing your own history as you sit here, even when you’re going to perform better in future, you will have difficulty because of the wrong history you have written. All of you sitting here, individually [are creating history].”

The IFP's Mangosuthu Buthelezi warned MPs to take note of what South Africans are saying.

“Look outside, look at the people lining the streets of Cape Town and Pretoria who are marching across our nation. These are ordinary South Africans from all persuasion, including the ANC.”

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)