Opposition loaded with confidence ahead of bid to remove Zuma

Opposition parties say they are willing to settle for anyone beside Jacob Zuma to allow for a disruption-free state of the nation address.

Opposition parties met on Friday 2 February 2018 to discuss their bid to have President Jacob Zuma removed. Picture: Clement Manyathela/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) believes the next motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma will definitely succeed if it goes to a vote.

The party has welcomed National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete’s decision to allow for another motion of no confidence debate but it’s pushing for it to happen before the State of the Nation Address (Sona).

Mbete announced that the motion is scheduled for debate on 22 February.

Zuma hopes to survive the motion once again if the African National Congress (ANC) fails to convince him to step down before then.

The EFF’s Deputy President Floyd Shivambu says the party is upbeat ahead of the coming motion of no confidence debate.

“It’s a given that if we’re going to vote, we do it on 22 February or earlier.”

The last time Zuma’s future was debated in Parliament, at least 25 ANC Members of Parliament (MPs) voted with the opposition.

The EFF seems to believe that, given the outcome of the ANC’s elective conference, it’s possible that even more of the governing party’s MPs will vote to oust the president this time.

'DO WHAT'S RIGHT, ANC'

At the same time, opposition parties are putting more pressure on the ANC to remove President Zuma, saying if he delivers the Sona next week it will prove that the governing party is unwilling to do what is right, and is unfit to govern.

The Democratic Alliance (DA), EFF, United Democratic Movement, Congress of the People, Inkatha Freedom Party and the African Christian Democratic Party met earlier on Friday and have written a letter to National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete calling for the president not to participate in the opening of Parliament.

On Thursday Mbete also rejected the DA’s request for Sona to be postponed.

ANYONE BUT ZUMA

Anyone but President Zuma, that’s essentially what opposition parties are willing to settle for to allow for a disruption-free address.

Shivambu said: “Whether it’s Cyril [Ramaphosa], whether it’s Gwede Mantashe, whether it’s Baleka Mbete, whoever they bring, it’s okay, as long as it’s not Jacob Zuma.”

The UDM’s Bantu Holomisa says a decision has not yet been made on exactly what opposition parties will do if Zuma shows up in Parliament next week.

“So far we didn’t resolve that we’re not going to attend.”

The parties are expected to meet with Mbete early next week before deciding on their final course of action against Zuma.

Holomisa said: “The opposition is united in assuring South Africans that it will continue to energetically fight for the eradication of corruption. The ANC’s continued foolhardy inability to remove President Zuma clearly indicates that the ANC cannot be trusted.”

The parties say they are treating this as a political issue for now and not a legal matter.