JOHANNESBURG – Opposition parties on Thursday submitted a motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma saying that corruption and unemployment have risen, the justice system has been politicized and the economy has weakened. The ruling party called the move a publicity stunt.
The motion, backed by eight opposition parties, was triggered by a violent strike at a platinum mine that killed 46 people, the downgrading of South Africa's credit rating by two major agencies and big spending of state funds on Zuma's rural residence, according to a joint statement by the parties.
"President Zuma no longer has the confidence of our political parties to serve as president on the grounds that under his leadership the justice system has been weakened and politicized, corruption in the public service has spiraled out of control, unemployment levels continue to increase, the economy is weakening, and the right of access to quality education has been violated," the statement said.
Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko brought the motion forward Thursday in the National Assembly. The motion is to be debated in parliament, where most seats are held by Zuma's African National Congress.
The ANC's office of the chief whip called the motion "a desperate, if not silly, publicity stunt by a group of attention-seeking opposition leaders ... is not based on any fact or evidence, and therefore amounts to nothing but character assassination." The office said it has proposed that parliament reaffirm its full confidence in Zuma's leadership.
Zuma has been embroiled in controversy recently over millions of dollars of additions to his private rural residence while millions of South Africans still lack decent homes, running water, electrical power and adequate access to health and education services. This after his standing had already been shaken by the worst state violence since the end of apartheid when police shot dead 34 striking platinum miners in August. Zuma is widely seen by striking miners as aloof to their concerns that they're not paid enough for the difficult and dangerous work they perform.
The no confidence motion was backed by the African Christian Democratic Party, the Azanian People's Organization, the Congress of the People, the Democratic Alliance, the Freedom Front Plus, the Inkatha Freedom Party, the United Christian Democratic Party and the United Democratic Movement.