Jacob Zuma faces no-confidence vote in parliament

President Jacob Zuma faces a no-confidence vote by secret ballot in South African Parliament on Tuesday, as opponents express confidence that lawmakers in his African National Congress, ANC, could vote to oust him from office.

Zuma, who assumed office in 2009, has faced heavy backlash for alleged corruption and economic mismanagement. He had defeated eight previous motions of no confidence that since then.

But opposition figures, who are currently holding a protest outside the country’s parliament in Cape Town, say today’s exercise will be different from the previous ones.

This is largely due to the last-minute decision of the Speaker, Baleka Mbete, to conduct the exercise using the secret ballot system as against the open ballot used in the past attempts.

It was believed that Zuma survived the previous efforts because many of his party members were not courageous enough to openly vote against him.

Zuma’s African National Congress controls the parliament with 249 seats out of 400. Opposition parties hold the remaining 151 seats.

The opposition would need 50 votes from ANC lawmakers for the no-confidence motion to succeed with a simple majority of 201 votes.

Should Zuma lose, he would be compelled to resign, alongside members of his cabinet.

Next, Ms. Mbete will assume presidential duties for the next 30 days starting from the date of Zuma’s resignation, after taking oath of office as acting president.

South African Chief Judge, Mogoeng Mogoeng, will fix a date within the 30 days for the parliament to elect a new president from its members, an exercise that would be presided over by either himself or another judge he would nominate.

After the election, whoever the parliament elects will be the next president.

Outside Cape Town, protesters are also marching in Johannesburg and Pretoria, chanting anti-Zuma slogans.

Echoes of ‘Fire Zuma!” could be heard from the crowd.

Zuma’s supporters argue for his continued stay in office despite lingering economic crisis. South Africa’s economy is currently in a recession, and its credit rating was downgraded to junk status by rating agency, Standard & Poor’s.

The supporters further argued that since Zuma was elected by a resounding majority in a democratic system, it was only appropriate that he be allowed to complete his tenure and not be stampeded out of office by the opposition.

The police have cordoned off roads near the parliament building to keep protesters from disrupting activities of workers in the area.


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