For once, let the people of South Africa be united, through Parliament, and vote out this irreparably compromised president. The first thing we will suggest is that the vote must be conducted through secret ballot.
The United Democratic Movement (UDM) is not entirely surprised by the developments of March 31. However, of great concern is the aftermath of the events as they unfold in the wake of President Zuma’s Cabinet reshuffle.
It is clear that the so-called unity in, and self-correcting nature of, the governing party is something of the past.
In fact, the intra-party divisions and open factional battles have spilled over onto the entire nation, creating panic about South Africa’s direction and, of course, its future. It cannot be denied that the President’s unilateral decisions have so far had devastating consequences for us on the socioeconomic and political fronts and will continue to do so in the next few weeks, months and even years.
The UDM has no interest in the intra-party dynamics of the African National Congress (ANC), but we are interested in how it affects the country and its people. We are therefore interested in finding a workable, sustainable solution for South Africa – this position is consistent with the thrust of the UDM’s founding principles i.e. putting South Africa first.
The ill-fated Cabinet reshuffle was nothing less than a concrete expression of factionalism and political consolidation towards the ANC’s elective conference later this year (despite the detrimental effects it has on the nation).
The bitter battle for the total control of the national fiscus has been a long one; starting with the dismissal of former Minister Nene.
President Zuma’s changes were clearly targeted at National Treasury, but he almost tried to sugarcoat his decision by replacing four other ministers – as if he was punishing ineffective ministers. Yet, outright failures and other dead wood in the executive were either moved sideways or were kept in the same posts.
The President has the right to hire and fire ministers, but surely this cannot be willy-nilly (or worse, for a nefarious political agenda). It must be for the GOOD of the country. But how can we accept these changes as if they were made for the GOOD of South Africans and their country?
The President has dismally failed in terms of accountability; he has failed to take the nation into confidence and has not rationalised his actions.
The consequence of this failure is a country on fire.
Mr Zuma has failed to consider the impact of his actions in terms of the challenges facing our devastated economy and has not taken on board the local and international stakeholders in South African economy. The reaction of the rand is a case in point.
The UDM shall support the motion of no confidence in the President. It is our wish that the Speaker of the National Assembly will manage these requests in line with the rules of the National Assembly as she has promised to do on the 2nd of April.
The first thing we will suggest is that the vote must be conducted through secret ballot. Parliament elected the President using this system and it is within the purview of the House to make that determination, since it is not provided for in the rules.
If the motion is successful, as it may be, we will call on President Zuma to accept the decision of the body that elected him into office and he should lead by example in accepting the democratic processes of this country.
It is important for leaders, no matter their political affiliation, to think ahead as they anticipate the reaction of some sections of society to democratic decisions, including this one. We must at all costs avoid tribal and any other form of violence that may happen as a result of this democratic process.
This time around, we hope that the ANC members of the Parliament will behave differently than they did on the 5th of April 2016 after the Constitutional Court found that their president failed to uphold, respect and defend the Constitution. This time we hope that they will vote with the people of South Africa and protect our constitutional democracy.
It is unfortunate that President Zuma has, up to this point, not volunteered to resign with the little dignity he still has.
Failing his resignation, a vote of no confidence is a constitutional tool at the disposal of the people of South Africa. For once, let the people of South Africa be united, through Parliament, and vote out this irreparably compromised president.
If this motion is not successful, then it is incumbent on the people to make their voices heard in productive and peaceful protest as we certainly cannot afford anarchy in our current fragile state. DM
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