South African President Jacob Zuma survived a no-confidence vote on Thursday, after the anti-graft watchdog called in a report for a judicial inquiry into allegations of influence-peddling in the government. The scandal highlighted in the report has rattled investors in Africa’s most industrialised country and raised the risk the stagnating economy’s credit ratings will be downgraded.
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Zuma, 74, had the support of the African National Congress (ANC), which controls about two-thirds of the 400-member assembly. He has already survived a no-confidence motion and an impeachment vote this year, related to other scandals.
“I think the no’s have it,” Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli ruled, after lawmakers of Zuma’s African National Congress (ANC), which controls almost two-thirds of the assembly, voted against the motion and burst into song in support of Zuma.
The main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), which called the no-confidence motion against Zuma over what it described as his “reckless leadership”, asked for a re-count of the vote.
Zuma, who was not in the assembly, won with 214 lawmakers voting against the motion, while 126 voted in favour and one abstained, a result that mirrored his victory in March.
In his speech supporting the motion, the DA party leader Mmusi Maimane urged lawmakers to “stand up against state capture,” while Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane said the motion was “ill-conceived and bound to fail.”
The vote comes after the Public Protector, a constitutionally-mandated office, called for a judicial inquiry into allegations of corruption in Zuma’s government in a report titled “State of Capture” released last week.
Zuma denies allegations that he granted undue influence to the Gupta family of business tycoons, who run a business empire from media to mining, or anyone else. The Guptas have also denied any wrongdoing.