Why Motion of No Confidence Will Fail

There is a national euphoria reverberating throughout the country following the long awaited decision by the Speaker of parliament to rule on whether the eighth Motion of No Confidence in president Jacob Zuma since he took office in 2009 will be by secret ballot or not.

It is now history that Speaker Baleta Mbete has ruled in favour of a secret ballot.

It is my considered view that the no confidence will be decisively defeated as has happened in the past. There is no way that ANC members of parliament will indirectly vote themselves out of parliament by supporting the opposition parties to dethrone their president and bring their party down as the governing party. There are almost sixty Ministers and Deputy Ministers in the ANC government today. There is no way that these highly paid ministers are going to sacrifice their lavish lifestyles in pursuit of removing their leader whose NEC twice failed to remove procedurally in terms of their party constitution. For the current ministers and deputy ministers to abandon their huge state houses, German sedans, drivers, domestics, overseas travel and many benefits just to remove Zuma is simply asking too much from the honourable members.

While most South Africans are excited about the possible removal of the most corrupt South African president since the Union of South Africa in 1910, few actual care to understand what would really happen if or when Zuma is removed by secret ballot. As soon as Zuma leaves office his cabinet must resign and the Speaker of parliament takes over as acting president for thirty days. Ministers and deputy ministers must vacate their palacious houses and learn how to drive again. Their spouses and children will be traumatized by having to live like ordinary citizens of this country. Can you imagine how some of these honourable families are going to collapse through divorce and General family breakdown? If I were a minister with a spouse and children I would find it difficult to support the fall of Jacob Zuma. Not so long ago some of these ministers promised to resign en masse should Zuma remove finance minister Pravin Gordhan before the March cabinet reshuffle. How many ministers resigned in solidarity with their axed colleagues?

For ordinary members of parliament voting with the opposition is also a hazardous enterprise. To be honest to the honourable members, the removal through a No Confidence Motion is not their call. If the ANC wants to remove president Zuma it must, like it did with Mbeki, use the National Executive Committee as the highest decision making body between conferences. It is extremely unfair that while the NEC failed twice to remove Zuma as president, it should place this burdensome responsibility on the shoulders of poor members of parliament.

Should these members follow their consciences there is a real danger of a more factionalized ANC caucus in parliament failing to agree on a candidate to replace Zuma. In that case the acting president is compelled to call an early general election with the dire consequences for current members some of whom have timed their debts to end in 2019. Should an early election be called these MPs may not be returned to parliament with ghastly consequences for their families. These MPs know that and are not going to take this risk of removing president Zuma in today’s no confidence debate.

So what next? This evening the Motion of no Confidence will have been defeated with probably a surprising number of abstentions for those who while they find Zuma despicable, would not be able to vote with the “enemy.” Jacob Zuma will have a sigh of relief wherever he would be in Africa when his people tell him that he was still commander-in-chief of the armed forces. He will burst out in laughter in his typical and idiosyncratic way. Dr Makhosi Khoza, Mondli Gungubele, Pravin Gordhan, Derek Hanekom and others suspected of having collaborated with the opposition will be targetted. Depending on the number of unknown MPs having voted with opposition, a witch hunt will commence that will increase of hostility between the two ANC factions. Cyril Ramaphosa will not be spared even though he would be guilty of nothing.

The consequences of a failed putsch by some ANC members will harden attitudes and the battle for the ANC national conference in December will intensify and get dirtier and probably violent. The electorate, having their expectations raised about the possiblility of removing a corrupt president will be disappointed and angered. Even those who have given the ANC a chance in the past will be convinced that the ruling party is not serious about punishing its president for selling the country to the fabulously wealthy Gupta family. The electoral tide will swing considerably against the ANC. The ANC veterans and stalwarts will intensify their campaign against Zuma and the ANC leadership. Their September consultative conference will be a bashing session that will further de-legitimize the ruling party in the eyes of the voters as the electoral fortunes of the ANC further diminish.

The damage to the ANC after this failed motion of no confidence in which some ANC members would have voted with the opposition will be incalculable. Those who would have voted to defend Zuma will be condemned by broader society. The factional warfare within the party will worsen and may lead to violence.

In conclusion, the false euphoria caused by the decision for a secret ballot is going to polarize attitudes within the ANC and lead to anger among ordinary South Africans who have had enough of Jacob Zuma. The current factional battles in the party will be taken to the next level. After surviving this no confidence motion, Zuma will be personally emboldened to defeat his internal enemies in the ANC. His supporters in the Premier League are going to misread Zuma’s survival as a signal that they would win the December conference and install Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as ANC president.

The next four months in the ANC will be hellish as the Zuma and Ramaphosa factions up the ante to emerge victorious in the forthcoming conference. In the meantime, the people of South Africa, tired of the shenanigans in the ruling party, will drift away from South Africa’s popular liberation movement. The die is cast and the demise of the ANC is imminent. 2019 will be the beginning of the process to end the hegemony of Mandela’s movement.

Source: Sello Lediga