POLITICS

ANC Members Are Angry Enough To Risk Their Jobs To Vote Against Zuma, Says Holomisa

"Even some of the members of the ANC today would be willing to show up their hands and risk it on behalf of South Africans."

22/06/2017 06:32 SAST | Updated 23/06/2017 16:38 SAST

United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa believes that some members of the African National Congress (ANC) are so fed-up with President Jacob Zuma, they would risk their jobs and vote against him in a no-confidence vote -- even if it's not held in secret.

"Even some of the members of the ANC today would be willing to show up their hands and risk it on behalf of South Africans... It [the vote of no confidence] would materialise whether it was secret or not secret. It looks as if they they are ready to tackle the old man," he told HuffPost SA on Wednesday.

The highest court in the land will rule on Thursday in a precedent-setting case, which asks the Constitutional Court to decide if Members of Parliament can vote through secret ballot. Proceedings are due to begin at 10am.

The application was brought by the UDM after Zuma removed Pravin Gordhan as finance minister, and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas. The controversial midnight reshuffle resulted in South Africa's credit ratings being downgraded to junk status. The UDM was joined by other opposition parties, including the Democratic Alliance, which has tried on a few occasions to remove the president through ballots.

Holomisa said whether the Constitutional Court ruled in favour of a secret ballot or not, the vote of no confidence against Zuma would still happen.

"The motion of no-confidence must still go ahead, especially now there are new revelations through the Gupta leaks," he said.

While Holomisa said the anger he has witnessed on the part of some in the ANC could mean MPs were angry enough to be openly vocal against Zuma, he didn't know how many would do so.

August ballot on the cards
But Holomisa was most looking forward to watching what the likes of the former finance minister, current ANC president hopeful and the South African Communist Party leader -- which have all been outspoken about Zuma -- would do.

"It would be interesting to see how people like Pravin Gordhan, Cyril Ramaphosa, Blade Nzimande, who have been calling for Zuma to step down, [vote]. Now they are being given an opportunity to exercise their right. If they fail to do so, we will just dub them as nothing else than a bunch of liars, and bunch of hypocrites."

Holomisa said that if the secret ballot was agreed upon, it could take place by mid-August.

ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa maintained the ANC was not worried ahead of the ruling.

"Whether secret or not, we are unshaken and unfazed," he said. "We as the ANC are over confident that the ANC MPs will vote with their political conscience, and their political conscience is the ANC," Kodwa said.

When asked if things could swing another way, Kodwa said it was impossible.

"This has never been done before; you can never vote against your own president, it is an unreasonable expectation for any party to vote against their president."

DA's open voting
The DA's James Selfe did not want to be drawn on what could happen on Thursday, but said that either way, his party would be voting openly.

"In principle, all votes should be open and transparent this should include the vote of no-confidence against Zuma so that voters know exactly what is going on and how their leaders will be voting," Selfe said.

He added that those who were afraid and were being intimidated should approach the speaker of Parliament, Baleka Mbete.

Mbete and Zuma are believed to be the biggest critics of closed-ballot voting.

What the analysts say
Political analysts are not convinced that the court would want to extend its powers in deciding for Parliament what should be done.

"It is unlikely that the court will prescribe with the call on whether it should be a secret ballot or not, I believe they will instead outline the conditions under which a secret ballot is warranted," analyst Ralph Mathekga said.

"I don't think that they will want to make a clear ruling and will rather and most probably hand it over back to parliament [for] the speaker to decide," he added.

Writer and analyst Terry Bell concurred, and said there was a good chance the vote of no confidence would go through.

"If it does go through it's probable that a slender majority will make it pass, just by enough votes," he said.