It seems the secret ballot did not tip the scale.
President Jacob Zuma narrowly survived Tuesday’s parliamentary vote, another opposition attempt to remove him from office. A successful vote of no confidence would have resulted in the forced resignation of the president and his entire cabinet, a result that opposition parties have pushed for relentlessly for some time.
The vote was by secret ballot
The motivations that led House Speaker Baleka Mbete to opt for secrecy this time around are still unclear. A number of the ANC’s officials were shocked by the decision, suggesting that it went against direct instructions issued by the party. On the other hand, some reports suggest that President Zuma was aware and in support of the secret ballot, in an effort to end the opposition’s ongoing quest for his removal.
Baleka Mbete’s future could be at risk
If Mbete’s secret ballot ruling went against ANC instructions, her position of power in the party could be in jeopardy. The Sunday Times reports that an ANC MP implied that Mbete’s job security depended on her compliance with the party’s wishes: “She must go with the ANC unless she’s telling us that we must remove her.”
The numbers were incredibly close
177 votes against the President and 198 votes in his favour with 9 abstentions is the closest margin of all the no confidence votes to date. Another push from the now emboldened opposition parties could tip the voting margin over the edge.
The ANC feels vindicated.
The ruling party’s attitude toward the result has been jubilant, and where the minuscule margin has been brought up, unconcerned. Police Minister Fikile Mbalula addressed party supporters gathered at the gates of parliament to reiterate the sentiment that the ANC will be the only ones to remove the president if and when they choose to do so, adding that ‘People who vote with the motion are suicide bombers.’
… But the EFF thinks they shouldn’t.
EFF leader Julius Malema said of the result, “I am proud to be South African today because we tested our democracy today and I can confirm it does work.” He went on to say that the margin was proof that change is in the wind, and that the president should take the results as a sign of division within his party and resign of his own accord.