News / South Africa

Eric Naki
Political Editor
3 minute read
31 Mar 2017
6:16 am

Zuma unlikely to survive another vote of no confidence, says analyst

Eric Naki

Andre Duvenhage said recent events could lead ANC MPs to vote against the president with opposition parties.

As an increasing groundswell of rebellion rises against President Jacob Zuma, sentiment is that he will not survive another vote of no confidence in parliament, particularly after his most recent controversial Cabinet reshuffle.

This comes as the Economic Freedom Fighters yesterday headed to the Constitutional Court to force the speaker of parliament to institute impeachment or disciplinary proceedings against Zuma. The DA said it would table yet another motion of no confidence against the president.

Analyst Andre Duvenhage, a professor and research director for sustainable social development at Potchefstroom campus at North West University, said Zuma was using the security cluster to get rid of enemies such as former finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his former deputy Mcebisi Jonas in order to access the national purse to fund networks who would help him survive politically.

Duvenhage said the anti-Zuma statements made by top alliance leaders at the funeral of ANC stalwart Ahmed Kathrada were unprecedented and indicated unhappiness within the party about him.

Combined with the long-standing tension between the president and some of his Cabinet ministers and the ANC parliamentary caucus, this could tip the scale against the president, said Duvenhage.

He believes the removal of Zuma through a vote of no confidence was not far off, as ANC parliamentarians could easily vote against him, with the opposition.

Other experts, such as Professor Pierre de Vos, agree:

“Jonas and Gordhan are just the tip of the iceberg. There are indications that he wants to get rid of the communists in his Cabinet such as Blade Nzimande, Jeremy Cronin and others,” Duvenhage said ahead of the reshuffle, which did not affect Nzimande.

The analyst said Zuma wanted to survive beyond the ANC December conference and he was even prepared to do a trade-off to remain party leader until then. He would use the security cluster against his opponents in order to survive.

“The intelligence report that he is talking about as the main reason to fire [Gordhan] is unverified, false and cannot stand up in court. It is a vague and flimsy political report just to get rid of the minister.

“This is all about financing the networks that Zuma has entangled himself with,” Duvenhage said.

On Thursday, the SA Communist Party (SACP) confirmed that Zuma had informed the party leadership that he intended to fire Gordhan and Jonas, to which the party vehemently objected. SACP second deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila said the president told the SACP leadership that his recalling of Gordhan and his department’s director-general, Lungisa Fuzile, back to the country from an investor roadshow in London was based on an intelligence report he received that their trip was part of a plot against his government.

Apparently, Zuma believed that the minister was central to a plot dubbed “Operation Checkmate”, devised to overthrow the state, and that his overseas trip was meant to turn foreign investors and bankers against the Zuma administration.

“This intelligence report is part of the reason given for these comrades to be brought home from outside,” said Mapaila.

“We objected to them being recalled as we felt that this matter could have been handled differently.

“If he wants to run a clean government, why target people who are doing a good job? Comrade Pravin has been running that department cleanly.”

He said the matters Zuma raised against Gordhan had nothing to do with governance.

Mapaila said the SACP would take “drastic action” should Zuma go ahead with firing Gordhan and Jonas. But he declined to elaborate. He said the party’s politburo would discuss the issue at its meeting at the weekend.

“We believe that there is much more to this than the reasons given to us,” he said.

The party would ensure that the minister was not removed for “any flimsy reason, while he is doing a good job”.

Nevertheless, the Cabinet reshuffle went ahead, though without the expected removal of SACP leader Blade Nzimande as minister of higher education.

Zuma has removed Gordhan as finance minister

For more news your way, follow The Citizen on Facebook and Twitter.