SA opposition urge Ramaphosa to back Zuma ouster

South African President Jacob Zuma. In his eight years in power, President Zuma has survived four no-confidence votes thanks to loyal voting by ANC legislators and affiliate parties, who form a strong majority. PHOTO | PETER DUBE | NMG 

South Africa's opposition Democratic Alliance's (DA) #NoConfidence petition against President Jacob Zuma has hit one million signatures.

The party launched the appeal following President Zuma's March 31 Cabinet reshuffle that led to the exit of respected Finance minister Pravin Gordhan and a slew of credit rating downgrades.

The signatures were collected online, on noconfidence.co.za, and from DA branches across the country.

The petition was to encourage the public to be co-signatories in a motion of no-confidence against the South African leader.

The motion, initially scheduled for April, is set to be debated in Parliament on Tuesday.

The petition was delivered to the deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa’s office in Cape Town on Wednesday.

“The deputy president has been vocal in his condemnation of state capture, looting and grand corruption within the ANC [African National Congress] and in government,” said DA leader Mmusi Maimane, adding that Mr Ramaphosa must lead his caucus to respect the will of the people and vote Mr Zuma out.

He said it would be hypocritical for Mr Ramaphosa to keep talking about rooting out corruption while still protecting and endorsing the president in the August 8 no-confidence vote.

The DA tabled the motion in April but was postponed after opposition parties moved to court seeking a ruling that the vote be anonymous to allow ANC lawmakers to support Zuma’s ouster without pressure from the party.

With only days to the vote, Speaker Baleka Mbete, a top ANC official, is yet to announce her decision on whether the lawmakers will hold an open or secret ballot after the court said it is at a discretion to do so.

The DA is suspicious that Ms Mbete’s delay in making known her choice could jeopardise the vote.

“What she wants and what her strategy is, she's hoping that the House will descend into chaos, and in this chaos, President Zuma will escape accountability. This strategy by Ms Mbete is reckless and prejudicial to the institution of Parliament,” said DA chief whip John Steenhuisen.

In his eight years in power, President Zuma has survived four no-confidence votes thanks to loyal voting by ANC legislators and affiliate parties, who form a strong majority.

Mass protests are scheduled to take place on August 8 in Cape Town against and in support of the South African leader.

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