No confidence motion against ‘sell-out’ Zuma fails

South Africa’s ruling party, the ANC, on Tuesday comfortably defeated a motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma brought by the leader of the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA).

Following a fiery debate in the National Assembly in which most opposition parties called for Zuma’s head, 225 MPs voted against the motion, while 99 voted for and 22 MPs abstained.

Opening the debate, DA leader Mmusi Maimane labelled Zuma a “sell-out” – a term often used by ANC MPs when heckling the opposition party’s first black leader.

“The ANC of today call us sell-outs, but they don’t see that, slowly but surely, the people of South Africa are beginning to realise who the real sell-outs are,” said Maimane.

“Because a sell-out is a person who puts his own interests before the struggle of his people, a person who secures an advantage for himself in other people’s suffering.”

Maimane cited Zuma’s run-ins with the law as reasons he should be removed from office.

“Jacob Zuma sold out when, as deputy president, he took a R500 000 bribe from Schabir Shaik. He sold out when he recalled a sitting state president who stood in his way of absolute power,” he said.

“Jacob Zuma sold out when he manipulated the National Prosecuting Authority to drop charges on 738 counts of corruption, bribery, money laundering and racketeering against him.”

ANC MPs interjected insisting Maimane be warned to refer to Zuma as “honourable” or “his excellency”.

Maimane ignored the warnings, and referred to Zuma without any prefixes.

South Africa’s second largest opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters, abstained from the vote and the debate. It said in a statement earlier in the day it believed such a motion required substance and a judgement from the highest court in the land.

Former ANC chief whip Mathole Motshekga, now chairperson of Parliament’s portfolio committee on justice, was called in to hit back at the opposition, referring to the motion by the opposition as a dirty trick – something he said was often used by the apartheid regime against its detractors.

“Honourable pastor Maimane, the new testament says only the truth will save you. Please tell the truth because the noise that you make here has to do with your anger and frustration at the achievements of the African National Congress,” said Motshekga.

“Honourable pastor Maimane, apartheid used dirty tricks to mislead the nation and you are doing the same…”

Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who has served as an MP since 1994, took his turn at the podium to bemoan the fact that “again and again the ruling party has always used its majority to shut down debate”.

Buthelezi also made reference to his warning when Thabo Mbeki was ousted as President that “what goes around comes around”, and expressed disappointment in Zuma whom he said had “failed our country and the ANC”.

ANC MP Pule Mabe described the motion as a “mere dress rehearsal to test if the ANC’s majority can be shaken”, and said it was a “war on the principle of majoritarianism” from an opposition who unsuccessfully attempted to “throw the President under the bus”.

Other opposition parties also took aim at Zuma – highlighting his reported links with the influential Gupta family, the millions in taxpayers money spent on his Nkandla private homestead in KwaZulu-Natal, and previously dismissed criminal charges against him as reasons that he should be removed from office.

But despite repeated calls by opposition parties to ANC MPs to “vote with their conscience”, the ruling party representatives backed their president, with small business development minister Lindiwe Zulu listing Zuma’s struggle credentials, and insisting that smaller parties were bringing the motions of no confidence “because of their own failure at the ballot box”. – African News Agency (ANA)

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories


Subscribers only

Poachers in prisons tell their stories

Interviews with offenders provide insight into the structure of illegal wildlife trade networks

Covid-overflow hospital in ruins as SIU investigates

A high-level probe has begun into hundreds of millions of rand spent by the Gauteng health department to refurbish a hospital that is now seven months behind schedule – and lying empty

More top stories

The politics of the Zuma-Zondo showdown

Any move made by the Zondo commission head or by former president Jacob Zuma must be calculated, because one mistake from either side could lead to a political fallout

Museveni declared winner of disputed Uganda election

Security personnel out in force as longtime president wins sixth term and main challenger Bobi Wine alleges rigging.

Pay-TV inquiry probes the Multichoice monopoly

Africa’s largest subscription television operator says it is under threat amid the emerging popularity of global platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime

​No apology or comfort as another Marikana mother dies without...

Nomawethu Ma’Bhengu Sompeta, whose funeral will be held this weekend, was unequivocal in calling out the government for its response to the Marikana massacre

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…