While the South Africa Federation of Trade Unions is disappointed that MPs did not pass the vote of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma, it is delighted and extremely encouraged by the huge drop in the majority against the motion.
In 2016, 126 MPs voted for a similar no confidence motion while 214 voted against, with one abstention, a majority of 88.
In 2017 177 MPs voted for and 198 against, with nine abstentions, a majority of just 21. If the votes for are added to the abstentions it is only 12 below the votes against!
No fewer than 59 more MPs voted for or abstained than last year and a good number of these must be ANC members. SAFTU salutes and thanks these comrades, whose names we do not know, for standing up for democracy and against corruption, and who refused to be intimidated by the threats from the party whips and risked real danger to their lives, which may only have been saved by the secret ballot.
On the other hand the 198 who voted against the motion were defending a corrupt leader who has ruined both the country had their party, and who are oblivious to the damage this is going to inflict on the very people who voted them into Parliament, the working class and the poor majority of South Africans. How many of these MP voted to try to keep the skeletons in their own cupboards hidden from public view?
It is incredibly bad news for all those South Africans who had hoped that at last we could escape from the pit of corruption this leader has led us into and who will now pay a heavy price for the defeat of this motion.
But there is no way that the ANC government can claim this as a victory; it is at best a narrow escape from a humiliating defeat, and a massive revolt within its own ranks. Zuma’s days in office must now be numbered.
SAFTU is therefore more determined than ever to demand that the ANC now get rid of him and all the corrupt elite of thieves who have captured what what used to be a national revolutionary movement and turned it into a vehicle for plundering the country’s wealth and channelling it into their own pockets and the bank accounts of their Gupta masters.
This gang of thieves has looted state resources, captured and emasculated constitutional bodies like the Hawks and NPA, which are supposed to be independent servants of the people; it has bankrupted state-owned enterprises like Eskom, SABC, SAA and PRASA, split the ANC itself into warring factions and led to the country’s economy being reduced to ‘junk’.
All this has turned what was already a desperate crisis of poverty and unemployment for workers and the poor – as a result of the government pro-big business policies like Gear and the National Development Plan – into a national catastrophe.
SAFTU warns however that the rot within the ANC’s ranks is not confined to one man and a small clique of cronies and that his departure would have led to a return to democracy and prosperity. The ANC cannot claim that only Zuma, and not all of them, should take responsibility for the mess the country finds itself today.
The Gupta emails have revealed how wide the web of the corrupt network has grown, with more cabinet ministers, MPs, SOE executives and private business people being exposed as participants or accomplices.
They also include figures from the very white monopoly capitalist class that Zuma’s defenders pretend to be fighting against, but who in reality they are copying, with the same greed for profit and power by whatever means possible. And rather than their talk about ‘radical economic transformation’ they continue to pursue policies of ‘business as usual’ to shore up an inherently corrupt capitalist system.