Johannesburg — The vote of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma will be the most important and difficult ballot ANC MPs will have to decide on, the party’s stalwarts said yesterday.
The stalwarts wrote an open letter urging MPs to remember the pledge they made as a members of Parliament — to never conduct themselves in a manner that will diminish their integrity and that of the Republic of South Africa.
“As you approach the moment of truth, please appreciate that the personal decision you make in this vote of no confidence, will not simply be judged in the weeks to come, but will be written into the history, not only of the country but that of the ANC, as an act that struck a blow for the rescuing of the ANC,” the letter stated.
Earlier yesterday, Parliament said Speaker Baleka Mbete is likely to announce her decision today on the use of a secret ballot in tomorrow’s motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma.
The motion was expected to be heard and voted on in the National Assembly tomorrow.
The Constitutional Court ruled in June that Mbete, as Speaker, has the constitutional power to decide whether or not to hold a secret ballot during the motion.
The stalwarts said in their letter that the sanctity and security of the state was under direct attack from criminal politicians, state officials and privateers.
“We are witness to larceny on a grand scale, leaving the country not only impoverished, but also increasingly in the hands of criminalised and compromised governance.
“Whether our organisation can retain and regain the confidence of broader society will be determined by its ability to rid itself of the cancer of the political and economic corruption aided and abetted by key elements within the organisation.”
The stalwarts said a motion of no confidence in Zuma was an inevitable outcome of the countless scandals he had involved himself and his office in.
“To replace the obligation of advancing the ANC’s historic mission with the burden of defending the unacceptable and indefensible is inconceivable, but sadly that is the reality you are confronted with.”
They said that the vote of MPs would come down to their own personal commitment to the country, and the ANC, adding that it would be a recognition that they are prepared to uphold, help and contribute to the restoration of the highest ethical standards and values society expects of the organisation and its parliamentarians.
Zuma’s eighth motion of no confidence comes amid intensified calls from within the ANC for him to step down from leadership.
The ANC has said that any of its MPs who vote in support of the opposition’s motion of no confidence will face disciplinary action, with ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe earlier labelling it the “worst betrayal”.
ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu said on Friday that voting in favour of the motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma would be like “throwing a nuclear bomb at the country”.
“The removal of the president will have disastrous consequences that can only have a negative impact on the people of South Africa,” he told reporters at Parliament.
Mthembu said it would result in the entire Cabinet having to resign, and a collapse in government. There would be deep and long-lasting ramifications, political instability, and economic uncertainty. — Sapa