News / South Africa

Gosebo Mathope
3 minute read
8 Aug 2017
11:26 am

Jackson Mthembu: the ANC won’t vote with opposition to remove Zuma

Gosebo Mathope

The ANC chief whip has been clear about what the party caucus has decided.

Jacob Zuma during the 2017 State of the Nation Address (SONA) and opening of Parliament on February 09, 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa. There were concerns after the PresidencyÕs decision to deploy South African National Defence Force (SANDF) troops to Parliament during Sona. Picture: Gallo Images

ANC chief whip in parliament Jackson Mthembu has reiterated that only if “the ANC itself through its own processes were to come to that [that Jacob Zuma must be removed from power] conclusion I will agree with that conclusion”.

He underscored that the conclusion to remove Zuma “can’t be arrived through the opposition which has set its mind from time immemorial [to unseat the ANC and Zuma]. I cannot vote with the opposition to remove my own president”.

Mthembu disagreed with suggestions that the party had been reluctant to remove Zuma, saying “the ANC has deliberated on this matter more than two times. The NEC deliberated in November [2016] and May this year. In all these occasions, I made my views known in the ANC. The standing decision of the ANC is that he must not be recalled”.

The chief whip denied that recalling Zuma would benefit the country, saying it would only benefit the opposition: “It is them [opposition] who will start their campaign this afternoon [if the vote to remove Zuma] carries.”

Mthembu’s views were echoed by Police Minister Fikile Mbalula, who said: “The country will be better with the ANC,” and that the decision was taken by the ANC collective.

He said as an ANC MP, he would proudly vote for Zuma to remain in power this afternoon.

Meanwhile, 400 members of parliament are expected to be in the chamber this afternoon, where voting will be tightly monitored by chief whips of various parties and ballots sealed with rubber bands before they are counted. The official announcement will be made by the speaker.

READ MORE: Opposition’s gamble against Zuma may not pay off, say experts

The New Age newspaper reports that, with the opposition needing 201 for the motion to be sustained, “Zuma will likely retain his the presidency with 214 votes”. The Gupta-owned broadsheet also states that “a group of 35 rebel ANC MPs are determined to vote against Zuma”.

In an event that the opposition commands enough numbers to remove the beleaguered Zuma, the speaker “must be sworn in [as caretaker president by chief justice or another judge designated by the chief justice”, according to constitutional law expert Professor Pierre de Vos.

Nathi Mncube, the spokesperson for chief justice Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, told The Citizen that while his office would not comment on the technical details and the procedure to be followed, Mogoeng was himself currently out of the country.

Associate professor at the University of Cape Town school of public law Richard Calland said the entire Cabinet would go immediately if the vote succeeded. Zuma’s current Cabinet is currently made up of 70 ministers and deputy ministers. Only the deputy minister of science and technology is not a member of the ANC.

“The constitution is silent on whether NA only meets again when new president is elected, but I assume that this should be the case. [In terms of] section 90(1) says she only acts as president until the National Assembly designates another person from among its members as acting President,” said De Vos.


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