President Zuma faces no-confidence vote in parliament on Tuesday
The Archbishop of Cape Town has urged MPs to vote their conscience on Tuesday in a “no-confidence” motion on South African president Jacob Zuma. At least 50 MPs of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party in the 400-seat Parliament will have to cross party lines and vote with the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) to unseat the president, who has held office since 2009.
Beset by corruption scandals, mismanagement, unemployment, tribal and racial violence, and a weakening economy, President Zuma has survived five previous no-confidence motions. However on 6 Aug 2017 Baleka Mbete, the parliamentary speaker and chair of the ANC said the vote would be by secret ballot “to ensure the outcome of this very important vote is credible”.
Twenty ANC MPs have indicated they will defy party whips and vote against President Zuma. The president is scheduled to step down as head of the ANC in December, and will not lead the party in the 2019 General Election. However, the ANC is sharply divided and may lose its grip on power for the first time since the end of the Apartheid era 23 years ago.
South Africa is “witness to larceny on a grand scale, leaving the country not only impoverished, but also increasingly in the hands of criminalised and compromised governance,” dissident ANC MPs said in a statement.
The DA has urged ANC MPs to break ranks and join them. This was “an opportunity for us all to stand up to corruption and get rid of President Zuma and his cabinet,” the party said in a written statement released last week.
Church and civic leaders have led the campaign outside parliament to end the endemic corruption that has sapped South Africa’s economy and led to a breakdown of public confidence in the government.
In a statement released on the eve of the vote, Archbishop Makgoba said: “You cannot afford to vote against your conscience. Never. Never do anything against your conscience, even if the state demands it. Your vote is wasted unless you vote your conscience…
“In the end, your conscience is your compass… Upon the guidance of your conscience depend 55 million lives. Your conscience will determine which road South Africa travels for the rest of your lifetime and those of your children and grandchildren.”
A message from Archbishop Thabo Makgoba read by the Rt. Rev. Garth Counsel to Monday’s civil society march under the banner #UniteBehind in Cape Town.
My friends, MPs of South Africa, fellow citizens:
Someone once said that time is not measured by clocks, but by moments. Similarly, it has been said that life is measured not by each of the breaths that you take but rather by the moments that take your breath away.
Tomorrow, August the 8th, marks one of those significant moments in our own lives and in the life of our nation.
It offers the opportunity to take a stand which will influence the course of South Africa’s history. We can liken it to an opportunity to join the world’s most exclusive club – the “life-changing events club.”
Being a member of this club is the last thing that anyone initially wants in their life. But being a member is the best thing that ever happens to a person in their life, and there is not a person in the club that would ever give up their membership.
To be a member of this club you simply have to vote your conscience and remember that, in matters of conscience, the laws of majority have no place.
Jesus did not get stuck in intellectual arguments with people. He did not go for the intellect; He went for the conscience. He spoke to that part of a person that knows the difference between right and wrong instinctively. His message to us is that it takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.
In the end, your conscience is your compass. It is more important to follow your conscience than to follow the dictates of your party, your colleagues or your friends. Upon the guidance of your conscience depend 55 million lives. Your conscience will determine which road South Africa travels for the rest of your lifetime and those of your children and grandchildren.
You cannot afford to vote against your conscience. Never. Never do anything against your conscience, even if the state demands it. Your vote is wasted unless you vote your conscience.
Your family is watching. Your friends are watching. Your community is watching. Your country is watching. The world is watching. And most important, God is watching.
God bless you, your family and God bless South Africa.