Opposition jubilant as 26 ANC MPs voted against Zuma

African National Congress Members of Parliament (MPs) voted down the motion by 198 votes to 177 votes in favour of toppling Zuma.

Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema addressing the media after a motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma. Picture: Rahima Essop/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema says they are very happy with the outcome of the secret ballot in the motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma.

African National Congress Members of Parliament (MPs) voted down the motion by 198 votes to 177 votes in favour of toppling Zuma.

A total of 384 votes were cast, and there were nine abstentions.

Malema says for the first time 26 African National Congress (ANC) members voted with the opposition.

The leader of the red berets says these results mean the tide is turning against the ANC.

“We're going to be putting more pressure. ANC is coming to their senses.

“It's only those who can't think [who] are calling a motion of no confidence a coup. There are cracks in the ANC. There's no unity in the ANC, they chose a criminal over the people.”

Malema says the opposition has a reason to celebrate because they see the enemy is shaking.

Jackson Mthembu

Meanwhile, ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu was delighted that the motion was defeated; it’s been a tense time for the party with uncertainty and internal tensions over this vote.

“What we are happy about is that we have defeated the motion. That was the most important focus of the ANC parliamentarians here.”

Mthembu says the party will deal with all issues internally, but not by removing Zuma from office.

He says to have done so would have emboldened the opposition to start on their election campaign for 2019.

Mthembu says a vote against Zuma would have fractured and weakened the party.

“Difficulties of alleged rampant corruption we must deal with. We are still committed to dealing with all these issues. But as we’ve stated, we did not believe that dealing with these issues would be by removing Zuma.”

UDM

Opposition parties were also jubilant because the results show at least 26 ANC MPs voted in favour of ousting President Zuma.

United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa says the motion of no confidence does not signal the end of the party's quest to remove Zuma.

“Oh yes, it went to the wire because there are only 11 votes which divided us. It’s not the same ANC which always boasts it’s got the numbers, this time we reduced them to nothing.”

Holomisa also tweeted that the UDM will be joining the EFF's proceedings to impeach Zuma.

Because it was a secret ballot, it’s not possible to know how many ANC MPs chose to abstain or who went against the party line, but the bottom line is that Zuma has survived.