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Wednesday 23 April  

S. Africa opposition parties urge Zuma censure

Published on 8 November 2012 - 6:59pm
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South Africa's opposition parties on Thursday asked parliament to debate a motion of no-confidence in President Jacob Zuma, heaping pressure on his under fire administration.

In a rare sign of unity among opposing lawmakers, eight parties asked the National Assembly to censure Zuma, citing "a mounting crisis of leadership."

The demand -- which is almost certain to be rejected by the ANC-dominated legislature -- was dismissed by the ruling party as "silly" and a "publicity stunt."

"The South African people are bearing witness to the emergence of a government and a country different to that envisaged by President Nelson Mandela and those who fought to liberate South Africa from oppression and ushered in a new democratic order in 1994," the group said in a statement.

The main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko told MPs that Zuma had overseen a weakening and politicisation of the justice system, a spiralling of graft, joblessness and a slowing economy.

His presidency has also seen the worst police bloodshed since apartheid fell, with 34 striking miners gunned down by officers, two recent credit downgrades and a furore over a $29 million upgrade to his private home in a country where millions still live in shanties.

Under South Africa's Constitution, the president must resign if the National Assembly passes a majority vote for a motion of no confidence.

Zuma's African National Congress holds just under two-thirds of the house seats, handing the party an overwhelming control on voting.

Zuma has already survived one no-confidence vote, in March 2010.

No date has yet been set for the latest vote, which the opposition parties would like to see take place as a secret ballot.

Despite the unlikelihood of the vote succeeding, it comes at a difficult time for the ANC leader.

At an ANC electoral conference in December could see Zuma face an embarrassing leadership challenge that could ultimately oust him from the presidency.

In response to Thursday's move, the ANC tabled an counter motion expressing confidence in Zuma.

© ANP/AFP
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