The city of Cape Town, South Africa is bracing for a series of politically-charged protests this month, as pro and anti-Zuma marches have been approved in anticipation of a Parliament vote on a seventh motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma.
There is a growing discontent in South Africa over the ability of President Jacob Zuma to marshal South Africans out of an economic, social and political downturn that has resulted in a series of protests and pickets in demonstration of dissatisfaction.
This ominous atmosphere has also infected the ANC, South Africa’s ruling party. Within the party, there have been reports of intense frictions and a party split over mounting evidence of corruption during Zuma’s presidency. These divisions ultimately led to an attempt to unseat Zuma in April – although he was backed by more than 50 of the 70 members of the National Executive Committee who debated removing him.
President Zuma’s troubles exacerbated when he fired Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, and ten other ministers, in a major cabinet reshuffle in March.
The New York Times reported ‘the finance minister’s dismissal sent the currency, the rand, plummeting as much as 5 percent at one point. The cost of borrowing for the government jumped, amid fears that rating agencies would downgrade South Africa’s government bonds to junk status.’
Also, Zuma’s close ties to the Gupta family does not appear to be doing him any favours with South Africans who are upset about the high corruption in the country.
A motion of no confidence against President Zuma has been set for August 8 by Parliamentary Speaker Baleka Mbete and former South African President Thabo Mbeki has joined calls urging MPs to vote with their conscience and not along party lines in the pending motion of no confidence vote against Zuma in the National Assembly – again.
Meanwhile, the ANC has welcomed the anti-Zuma marches, praising it as an “exercise of constitutional rights”.
“This is but one of the mechanisms in our society to deal with and resolve conflict. Others include the constitutional right to call for a motion of no confidence in the president of the republic, such as the one that shall be debated next week,” said ANC head of communications Khusela Sangoni.
Follow developments on this story on Twitter using the hashtags: #UniteBehind #NoConfidenceDay #GuptaLeaks #ANCRecallZuma