While South African President Jacob Zuma has narrowly survived yet another a no-confidence motion, the vote will do little to shore up the public’s faith in his beleaguered African National Congress.
On Tuesday, ruling party lawmakers rallied around Zuma to
defeat the motion 198 to 177 — the eighth such vote the president has faced, but the first
with a secret ballot. With support for the ANC waning as a result
of corruption scandals that
have dogged Zuma, it’s a decision they may come to regret, according to Daniel Silke, director of
Political Futures Consultancy in Cape Town.
“Zuma is a great political survivor, but this was a weaker-than-expected victory that will do nothing to stem the deep political malaise” gripping the party, Silke said. “The vote does not change the highly charged atmosphere that exists in the country and within the ANC.”
Under the stewardship of Zuma, a 75-year-old former intelligence operative who has led the country since 2009, South Africa has slipped into recession, lost its investment-grade credit rating, and seen its unemployment rate reach a 14-year high. He’s clung to power because he continues to enjoy the backing of top ANC leaders who rely on him for cabinet posts and government jobs. The vote weighed on the markets, with the rand weakening 0.7 percent to 13.4757 per dollar at 1:25 p.m. on Wednesday in Johannesburg.