Vote of No Confidence
By Collins Atohengbe, Pretoria
South African opposition parties are pushing for a vote of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma for alleged corruption, economic failure and poor service delivery.
Speaking on behalf of the a coalition of 8 opposition parties in parliament, Lindiwe Mazibuko of the Democratic Alliance (DA) said Zuma has politicised the judiciary, unemployment has increased and corruption has spiralled out of control while poor quality education system posses a long term danger.
Mazibuko said "It is an important motion and it would frankly be a dereliction of parliament not to table it and debate it at the earliest opportunity".
The request will need the green light from Parliament’s Speaker, Max Sisulu, an African National Congress (ANC) stalwart; although the opposition Democratic Alliance says there has never been any precedent for parliament not to hear a proposed no confidence debate.
The ANC, which has ruled South Africa since the fall of apartheid in 1994, has countered by saying it has made enormous strides in reducing poverty and is working to improve accountability in government.
Even if it goes ahead, the belief is that Zuma's position is secure because the ANC has an over whelming 66 percent control of the seats in parliament and dissent is almost unheard of.
However, in the past three months the administration of Jacob Zuma has been rocked by the most damaging labour strikes since the end of apartheid and the police killing of 34 strikers at Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine on August 16.
Zuma is also facing public scrutiny for what the DA says is a reckless disbursement of public funds by the government for committing almost 250 million Rand to the upgrade of the Presidents private residence, the INKANDLA.
Two major ratings agencies have downgraded South Africa's economic outlook saying Zuma's government is taking Africa's largest economy on the wrong path with policies that erode its competitiveness.
The 70-year-old Zuma is facing a significant internal opposition to his re-election at the party’s elective conference in December and the no confidence process could boost opposition’s argument that he is ineffectual and unqualified to run a sophisticated emerging economy expected of South Africa.
The opposition made a similar push in 2010 after a scandal about Zuma's sex life, although the ANC was able to twist the motion into a "confidence vote" then but the current efforts is a symbolic move that could nevertheless embarrass his bid to get re-elected as head of the ruling ANC.