Howard Feldman

Rejoicing in the loss of the no-confidence vote

2017-08-10 09:07
President Jacob Zuma during his closing speech. (Gianluigi Guercia, AFP)

President Jacob Zuma during his closing speech. (Gianluigi Guercia, AFP)

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President Jacob Zuma survived his 8th motion of no confidence in his 8th year of his Presidency. The debate and vote took place on the 8th day of the 8th month, a day after a spectacular lunar eclipse showered the country with brilliant radiance; an eclipse that some say heralds change and renewal.

South Africans believed that the sun would set with the news that the president had been replaced and that a new era would be ushered in to the site of an almost full moon.

The motion failed.

Devastation followed. The Rand tanked. Hopelessness spread. Heads were shaken in silence. Words were not spoken and everyone wondered what will happen next.

I however, am overjoyed. And this is why:

No matter the result, South Africans live in a vibrant, robust and young democracy. This is a democracy that allows parties to debate the behaviour of the president and even do so with humour and good cheer.

There is freedom of expression and a mostly free press. Hlaudi, BLF and ANN7 aside, South African publications and commentators are able to write and opine and editorialise as they choose. This is not a privilege enjoyed in many countries around the world but is fiercely protected and valued in ours.

We need to celebrate that.

The fact that nearly 30 ANC MPs voted against Jacob Zuma is massive and significant and should be applauded. The MPs did so in defiance of a direct instruction to not do so. This despite the fact that voting in support of the motion might well result in them losing the financial security of their positions and that the fear of being discovered must have been substantial.

Schabir Shaik is alive and well despite living with a terminal illness no one has heard of. It’s like a modern day miracle. Hallelujah.

If the motion succeeded, then Baleka Mbete would have become interim president. Think about that for a minute if you’re able to. Most people can only manage 30 seconds at the most.

The fact that the motion failed means we might get to do this all again. No alternatives on DSTV or Netflix (and definitely not on SABC) even closely rival the level of entertainment and wonder that an afternoon of debate around Jacob Zuma does. The cast of characters, the one liners and sheer showmanship of it all leaves one begging for more and hoping that the next season brings the same level of thrill. It’s like our very own Game of Thrones. Where else would we get to hear lines like, “We want to remove Edward and Duduzane’s father”?

If you are miserable following the failure of the motion, think of how must Cyril feel.

Even despite the fact that the motion didn’t pass, the corruption of the presidency and the abuse of power is well into the open. There are few South Africans (even within the ANC) who believe that he is fit to lead, that he is an honest guy and that he has the county’s interest at heart.

If the motion didn’t pass it’s because the ANC has a pathological need to deal with their issues from within the party. Of course the fact that they still have not done so will be their ultimate demise, but that is another discussion altogether.

And no, the ANCWL and the ANCYL can’t be as gullible and stupid as they seem to be. It’s not physically possible. It would be another modern day wonder or miracle.

Like Schabir Shaik. Hallelujah.

The point is simply this. Yeah it would have been so great if this Women’s Day there was a new president of the country. Even if it were Baleka Mbete.

It didn’t happen that way. But it will.

Jacob Zuma has been exposed. He is the emperor with no clothes and South Africans have seen exactly what lies beneath. And it’s not so pretty. The process of removing him and the recovery that will follow is simply a journey with a destination. We might as well enjoy the ride. 

- Howard Feldman is the author of Carry on Baggage and Tightrope and the afternoon drive show presenter on Chai FM.

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  no confidence vote  |  parliament
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