South Africa’s Zuma defeats no-confidence vote over graft allegations

South Africa opposition parties have lost their bid to remove President Jacob Zuma in a no-confidence debate on Thursday.

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA (NOVEMBER 10, 2016) (ENCA) – South African President Jacob Zuma survived a no-confidence vote on Thursday (November 10), over what the opposition called his “reckless leadership”, after the anti-graft watchdog called for an inquiry into allegations of influence-peddling in the government.

Zuma, who was not in the assembly, won with 214 lawmakers voting against the motion, while 126 voted in favour and one abstained, a result that mirrored his victory in March.

The vote was called by the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party last week after South Africa’s Public Protector, a constitutionally-mandated office, called for a judicial inquiry into allegations of corruption in Zuma’s government in a report titled “State of Capture”.

In his speech supporting the motion, the DA party leader Mmusi Maimane urged lawmakers to vote against Zuma.

“If you choose Mr Jacob Zuma ahead of your country, you will live with the consequences of your decisions. A vote against this motion is a vote for state capture, it is a vote for corruption, it is a vote for theft, it is a vote for power abuse. We must put South Africa first; let us do this vote for the unemployed, the marginalised and the down-trodden. Let us rise above our differences and put the people of this country first,” Maimane said.

Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane spoke defiantly against the no-confidence motion, calling president Zuma not to get discouraged and to always rise above all the laughter and criticism.

“We are not, as the ANC, we are not an organization that claims to be pure, but it is through our continuous efforts to remain true to the values and principles of the ANC that we remain much more focused, loyal to the constitution and being the pioneers of the constitution, no one can dare challenge our commitment to that,” she said.

Zuma, 74, had the support of the African National Congress (ANC), which controls about two-thirds of the 400-member assembly.

He denies granting undue influence to the Gupta family of business tycoons, who run a business empire from media to mining, or anyone else. The Guptas have also denied any wrongdoing.

The scandal highlighted in the report has rattled investors in Africa’s most industrialised country and raised the risk the stagnating economy’s credit ratings will be downgraded.