By Pinky Khoabane
MANY among the chattering classes have been sold the dream that a new government will be in place on August 9 following the motion of no confidence vote against President Jacob Zuma that is to take place tomorrow.
This will be the eighth vote of no confidence against Zuma, who will be triumphant once more, according to ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu in his statement last Friday that the ANC in Parliament would not vote with the DA to collapse the government.
Unlike in the past when the ANC simply spoke of its mandate of 62%, given to it by the population in 2014, to explain why it couldn’t vote with the opposition, this time it has had to justify its vote by saying it couldn’t “collapse the government” despite the “discomforts” and “irritations” cited in various reports including: “The Unburdening Report by the South African Council of Churches (SACC), The No Room to Hide dossier by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa), the Betrayal of the Promise report by the State Capacity Research Project and the Public Protectors’ State of Capture report”…
“We must never allow our current irritations to blind us to act in a manner that destroys everything we have built over the past 23 years as a young democracy. Voting in favour of this motion will be tantamount to throwing a nuclear bomb at our country. The removal of the President will have disastrous consequences that can only have a negative impact on the people of South Africa”.
But Would Getting Rid of Zuma Now Really Work in the Interests of the Opposition?
We often ask what the commercial media would write about if Zuma were to leave office tomorrow. What would the many regime change non-governmental organisations do if they didn’t have a court case or a charge sheet to file at one police station or another or a march to organise.
“I don’t think the opposition wants President Zuma gone on Tuesday. It is not in their interest — not when he has (consciously or unconsciously) become a campaign factor against the reputation of the ANC especially ahead the 2019 elections. The no-confidence motion is part of a psychological warfare stratagem which has so far worked. It has rattled and defocused the ANC from doing anything else but defend, defend, defend! The opposition also know that in defending the President, the ANC further angers and alienates a sizable portion of the population which is disaffected. This is to say nothing of what little remains of ANC unity and cohesion. Those of you with rural backgrounds know that when a troop of baboons attacks a mealie field, they deliberately send a handful of young ones before your view while the mature and skilful ones pillage the field from behind. They literally run rings around you, just like the opposition is running rings around the ANC. The challenge about what to do remains!” Mukoni Ratshitanga – former President Thabo Mbeki’s spokesperson
National Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete is scheduled to announce shortly if the vote will be in secret or open. The nation (the middle class) awaits the decision with much anticipation, almost hoping that she would declare the voting secret. Many have been sold the notion that ANC MPs if given a chance to vote secretly, would impeach the President.
Some have argued that ANC MPs, by voting against the President, would be voting themselves out of jobs. The motion of no confidence would mean the collapse of the entire government. It is actually an insult to suggest that the only reason the MPs would vote against the motion would be to safeguard their jobs. What the opposition, more so the DA, has never come to grips with is that the ANC, despite the “irritations” as Mthembu puts it, will never unseat its president at the behest of the DA. The DA represents white supremacy and the protection of white privilege. Handing over the mandate to the DA would be a colossal mistake from which the ANC would never recover. There will be the few ANC MPs who have already declared their decision openly, but that will be it.
The biggest challenge going forward for the ANC will be how it maintains lost confidence among the middle classes based on its decisions of among others, the past votes of no confidence. These are the voters who will punish the ANC for having “done nothing when they could have voted to impeach Zuma” – they already did it in the municipal elections of last year. But more importantly, will be how the ANC responds to the barrage of opposition to Zuma and its rule which will only intensify as we move closer to the elections.