Durban: South African opposition parties will fail in their campaign to remove Jacob Zuma as president and the government won’t be distracted by protests against his leadership, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said.
“The African National Congress holds 62 per cent of the vote in the National Assembly, so there is no chance in hell that the motion of no confidence will succeed,” Gigaba told reporters Wednesday at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Durban, on South Africa’s east coast. The nation’s top court will hear opposition party arguments on May 15 to allow for a secret ballot in the planned no-confidence motion, Business Day reported. The groups hope an anonymous vote will encourage ANC lawmakers to support the motion.
Zuma, 75, has been dogged by scandal since he became president in 2009, and Gigaba is his fourth finance minister in less than two years. S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings Ltd. cut South Africa’s credit rating to junk last month after he fired Pravin Gordhan as finance minister, sparking protests by tens of thousands of people. The North Gauteng High Court will hear arguments on Thursday on whether Zuma should supply reasons for the cabinet changes, the opposition Democratic Alliance said Wednesday.
The government is focused on boosting economic growth and rebuilding confidence in the economy following the credit-rating downgrades, Gigaba said.
Zuma is due to step down as ANC leader at the party’s five-yearly elective conference in December. His successor will probably be the next national president when Zuma’s term ends in 2019, given the ANC’s dominance of politics in South Africa since the first all-race vote in 1994.
Only the ruling party will decide on Zuma’s position as president, Gigaba said in an earlier interview with Bloomberg TV.
“The president is going to serve his term until 2019,” he said. “Until the ANC changes its mind, the president will remain the president.”