Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

How Zuma’s exit may unfold

It now seems a matter of ‘when’ and not ‘if’ President Jacob Zuma will step down. With ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa and other members of the top six reportedly frustrated by their efforts to get Msholozi to step down gracefully,these are the options available to them.

Vote of no confidence 

Zuma’s enemies have previously sought to topple him with parliamentary votes of no confidence.

Several such motions have been tabled in parliament but failed.

During the last attempt, in August, the president’s opponents fell short by only 24 votes after some lawmakers from the ANC voted against him.

For such a motion to succeed, a simple majority of parliamentarians would be needed –201 in total. The ANC has 249 seats in the national assembly.

If successful, the president and cabinet would have to resign.

The speaker of parliament would become president for a maximum 30 days.

The Economic Freedom Fighters party has tabled another motion of no confidence which is due to be debated in parliament on February 22.

Impeachment

The impeachment process provides three grounds by which lawmakers can strip the president of office: a serious breach of the constitution; serious misconduct; or incapacity to carry out his or her duties.

Two-thirds – 267 – of the members of the National Assembly would have to vote for the president’s removal for this pathway to succeed.

If a president is removed by impeachment, he or she is replaced by the deputy president, and would lose the perks and benefits normally afforded to former heads of state.

However, the prospects for this are unclear. Parliament’s oversight of the president has been criticised as being too slack.

In 2016, Zuma was found guilty of failing to uphold the constitution by the country’s highest court over taxpayer-funded upgrades to his personal home.

After a court battle, Zuma agreed to pay back R7.8 million that he had refused to reimburse for upgrades to his Nkandla homestead.

In December, the Constitutional Court criticised parliament for not holding the president to account over this scandal and ordered it to draft clear rules for removing a sitting head of state.

Parliament has begun discussing such a mechanism but could take months to conclude the process.

Resignation 

There are two main scenarios under which Zuma could resign.

He could decide to relinquish power – likely the most dignified option and clearly the ideal route for the ANC.

This route would “not embarrass the president”, Collette Schulz-Herzenberg, a political science lecturer at Stellenbosch University, said.

Recall

Under the other scenario, Zuma could be “recalled” by the NEC when they meet on Wednesday and effectively forced to quit.

Such a move is not desirable as it would likely further split an already fractured NEC at a time when most are calling for unity.

If he refused to step down as head of state, the party could then trigger a parliamentary confidence motion to get rid of him. Again, the ANC is trying to avoid this as the considerable support base that Zuma wields, particularly in the highly contested KwaZulu-Natal region, could punish the ruling party at the ballot box in 2019.

In 2008 when Zuma was elected as president of the ANC, the governing party recalled head of state Thabo Mbeki and shortened his term by eight months.

The party then ordered him to quit the presidency, because presidents derive their legitimacy from the largest party in parliament which elects them.

The deputy president would take power and it would be up to the national assembly to pick a new president within 30 days.

Agence France-Presse

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Afp And
Guest Author

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

South Africa’s mothballed ‘supermall-ification’ sets strip malls up for success

Analysts agree that the country has enough malls and that, post-Covid, the convenience of local centres lure customers

Mabuza’s Russian jaunts and the slippery consequences of medical tourism

For more than five years the deputy president has remained steadfast in his right to travel abroad to receive medical treatment

More top stories

Deputy president Mabuza begs Tshwane voters: ‘Don’t abandon the ANC’

Angry Atteridgeville residents hurl insults at ‘dysfunctional’ ANC full of ‘corrupt individuals’ as Mabuza fails to placate them with party T-shirts and doeks

Taxi operators clash with cops over disputed Route B97 in...

Three suspects remain in custody following their arrest on charges of attempted murder and assault after eight taxis were impounded

SA teens, you’re next in the queue for a vaccine...

Teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 will be able to register to receive their Covid-19 jab from 20 October. This group will be given only one dose of the Pfizer vaccine, for now

Former US secretary of state Colin Powell dies aged 84

The 84-year-old died as a result of complications from Covid-19
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×