SA Protesters..

Protesters blocked roads with burning tyres
and rocks on Tuesday in a show of opposition
to President Jacob Zuma hours before the
South African parliament was due to vote on a
no-confidence motion which could force him to
step down.

Newspaper headlines reflected the high stakes
at play “JZ’s moment of truth” read The Star,
while The Sowetan declared: “High Noon for
Zuma”.

Zuma, who has held power since 2009, has
struggled to fend off opposition accusations of
corruption and mismanaging the economy.
If parliament votes in favor of the no-
confidence motion, he and his entire cabinet
would have to step down.
The parliamentary speaker on Monday had
ruled that the vote would be a secret ballot a
decision the opposition hopes will embolden
members of the ruling African National
Congress (ANC) to vote against Zuma.
It was unclear, however, which way the vote
would go.

The ANC has 249 seats in the 400-seat
parliament and the opposition controls 151
seats, so it would take 50 ANC lawmakers
backing the opposition to vote Zuma and his
cabinet out.
Markets had welcomed Speaker Baleka Mbete’s
decision, with the rand, bonds and banking
shares surging after Mbete’s announcement,
buoyed by the prospect of Zuma’s removal. On
Tuesday, the rand traded flat as markets
waited anxiously.

In the past year, Zuma has upset investors, in
particular by removing finance minister Pravin
Gordhan in March.
The country’s credit rating has been
downgraded to junk by two of the top three
credit rating agencies, unemployment is at a 14-
year high of 27.7 per cent and the economy is
back in recession.
Zuma has also faced a welter of corruption
accusations, which he denies, and the ANC,
which has governed since the end of apartheid
in 1994, is deeply divided.

“Jacob Zuma has brought our nation to its
knees,” the main opposition Democratic
Alliance (DA) party, which brought the motion
to parliament, said in a statement urging
lawmakers to vote the president out.
Across Gauteng province, where the
commercial hub Johannesburg and capital
Pretoria are located, protesters blocked major
roads with burning tyres and rocks.
Many clad DA colors carried posters saying
“Fire Zuma.” Other posters featured a cartoon
of Zuma in a dustbin.
Opposition parties also planned a march in
Cape Town, where parliament is located, to
push for Zuma’s removal.

ANC party members are also expected to rally
in the city to support Zuma.

The leftist Economic Freedom Fighters party
was expected to hold a protest in Pretoria.
Zuma’s tenure as South Africa’s president is
due to run until 2019, when national elections
will be held.
He has survived eight no-confidence votes
during his eight years in power thanks to loyal
voting by ANC lawmakers, who form a strong
parliamentary majority.
However, those votes were not secret.
“This motion, just like others before it, will be
defeated,” a statement from the ANC’s chief
whip Jackson Mthembu said.
However, the ANC lawmakers appeared
divided.

Derek Hanekom, who was removed as tourism
minister in the cabinet reshuffle that cost
Gordhan his job, said on Twitter that
lawmakers must vote against “massive looting
and corruption.
“Vote for change”.


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