ANC chief whip warns against bid to remove Zuma from power

South Africa's African National Congress (ANC) party chief whip, Jackson Mthembu. PHOTO | PETER DUBE | NMG 

The African National Congress (ANC) party chief whip, Jackson Mthembu, has said removing President Jacob Zuma from power would create political instability in South Africa.

President Zuma faces a motion of no-confidence in Parliament on Tuesday.

The motion, initially scheduled for April, was tabled by the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA).

“Voting in favour of this motion will be tantamount to throwing a nuclear bomb on the government of South Africa… It will create so much political instability and uncertainty,” Mr Mthembu told journalists on Friday, adding that the poor and working class would be the most affected.

The president has been facing mounting pressure from his party, the opposition and civil society over corruption scandals, Cabinet sackings and his handling of the economy.

Mr Mthembu said should the president exit, the entire Cabinet would have to resign, leading to a collapse in government and that that would cause “long-lasting ramifications”.

He reiterated that ANC legislators were sent to Parliament by the party and are required to toe the line.

'Hard to vote against'

Meanwhile, a top ANC figure and former Tourism minister, Derek Hanekom said he is convinced more than half of the party’s MPs are unhappy with the current state of affairs in the country.

“When it comes to the vote I’m sure ANC members in Parliament will do what they believe is best for our country and do what they believe is best for our organisation,” he said.

Mr Hanekom said a majority of MPs found the previous no-confidence motion “very hard to vote against”.

“We did what we thought was the right thing. Many months later‚ there is another motion of no-confidence. Now‚ it is that much more difficult to vote against it,” he said.

President Zuma will be facing his fifth no-confidence motion on August 8. He has survived the previous four due to strong backing by his party, whose MPs form a majority in Parliament.

He is expected to step down after eight years at the helm of ANC in December. His tenure as president of South Africa ends in 2019.

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