The South African parliament was to vote in the secret ballot on Tuesday for the motion of no confidence in the head of state Jacob Zuma, the opposition hoping to rally deputies of the ruling ANC party to bring down.
Criticism of Zuma in the African National Congress (ANC), the party of the late Nelson Mandela, is steadily growing as the president is entangled in a series of politico-financial scandals and the economy of the country recession.
To be adopted, the motion of no confidence put forward by the opposition must obtain an absolute majority of the votes of the deputies, ie 201 votes out of 400. If this were the case, the head of state and the government should resign.
But it seems unlikely that it will pass. The ANC, which has a comfortable majority of 249 seats in parliament, assured Monday that it had “no doubt about the failure of this motion, as was the case for many others in the past.” “We do not doubt the loyalty” of the ANC deputies, added the party.
Several opposition parties have scheduled to protest in Cape Town on Tuesday, before the meeting of the Parliamentary session scheduled for 1400 hours (1200 GMT).
“ANC deputies have no excuse now, they have to use their vote … to dismiss Jacob Zuma,” urged the main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), after The surprise decision Monday by the Speaker of Parliament, Baleka Mbete, to vote the motion of censorship by secret ballot.
Erosion of the electorate
President Zuma, 75, in power since 2009 and whose last term expires in 2019, has already survived three motions of mistrust without secret ballots.
“It is unlikely that a significant number of ANC deputies will be ready to vote against their own party,” analyst Daniel Silke told AFP.
“I do not think that the ANC wants the future of the president to be dictated by a motion of no confidence filed by the opposition,” he added.
The ANC, in power since the official end of apartheid in 1994, could instead do its own house in December at its national conference, while the mandate of Jacob Zuma to lead the party will come to an end.
The party has badly digested its historic setback in the August 2016 municipal elections and hardly accepted the dismissal in March of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, the defender of corruption, replaced by a loyal of the president.
It also suffers from a historical erosion of its electorate. The ANC Secretary General, Gwede Mantashe, recently acknowledged that the corruption scandals surrounding Zuma weigh on the image of the party.
The appeals for Jacob Zuma’s resignation are increasing, coming from both ANC veterans, trade unions, and politicians such as Mr. Gordhan.
The head of state is accused of being under the influence of the powerful Gupta business family. Last October, a report by the Ombudsman of the Republic at the time described the involvement of this family in the management of state affairs and their pressure to obtain public contracts.
Two names are among the favorites to succeed Jacob Zuma at the head of the ANC: current vice president Cyril Ramaphosa, leader of the anti-Zuma slingers, and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the former patroness of the African Union (AU) which has the support of the head of state, her ex-husband.
Ms. Mbete is also one of the potential candidates. His decision Monday to allow a secret ballot vote is “surprising”, given his unwavering loyalty to Zuma so far, according to analyst Judith February. But her announcement is also “strategic”, given its ambitions, she hinted.