Zuma’s Ouster Would Be Best for South Africa, Communist Party Says

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  • SACP-ANC lawmakers must ‘vote with conscience,’ Mapaila says
  • Lawmakers to vote in no-confidence motion against president

Zuma's Fate Rests in Secret Ballot No-Confidence Vote

Removing Jacob Zuma as president of South Africa is the “best thing” that could happen to the country, the Communist Party said before lawmakers vote in a motion of no confidence against the leader.

The party, which is in alliance with Zuma’s ruling African National Congress and whose members in parliament are in the ANC’s caucus, wants its representatives to “vote with their conscience,” South African Communist Party First Deputy General Secretary Solly Mapaila said in an interview on Johannesburg-based Talk Radio 702. Last week, the Huffington Post reported that the SACP’s lawmakers will support Zuma even though it’s called for him to step down.

Parliament will on Tuesday vote by secret ballot, National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete said Monday in a surprise decision that may increase the chances of his ouster. On Friday, ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu instructed the party’s members to vote against Zuma’s removal, saying supporting the motion would be a vote to “collapse” the government and have “disastrous consequences.”

The main opposition Democratic Alliance filed the no-confidence motion in April after Zuma’s decision to fire Pravin Gordhan as finance minister prompted two ratings companies to downgrade the nation’s debt to junk. The opposition argued that since parliament elects the president by secret ballot, it should be able to use the same process to remove him. The nation’s top court ruled that the speaker should determine the voting procedure.

“The ANC is incapable to lead society, let alone deal with internal problems,” Mapaila said. “Our comrades must do the right thing and save South Africa.”

The no-confidence motion requires the backing of a majority of the 400 lawmakers to pass. A secret vote increases the odds of Zuma’s removal because members of the ruling party can vote him out without risking losing their jobs. Zuma, 75, who’s due to step down as leader of the ANC in December and as president in 2019, has defeated previous attempts to oust him.

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