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Markets want to see Zuma exit the presidency - economist

Aug 08 2017 20:25
Liesl Peyper

Cape Town - The way the rand has performed over the past 24 hours shows that the markets want a Zuma exit, said Gina Schoeman, chief economist of Citi Bank.

The rand lost significantly against the dollar on Tuesday following the failed no confidence motion in President Jacob Zuma, trading at R13.39 immediately after the results announcement - from R13.11/$ earlier in the day.

Schoeman said the consensus was that Zuma would survive the no confidence vote, but there’s definitely a feeling of disappointment.

On Tuesday, Zuma survived another vote of no confidence in the National Assembly after the number of votes in favour of the motion fell short of the 201 votes required for it to succeed. Altogether 177 MPs voted in favour of the motion and 198 against, while there were nine abstentions. 

READ: Rand tanks as Zuma survives yet again 

"The question is: What does this mean for December’s elective conference?" Schoeman said. "Although still not a huge number of ANC MPs voted against Zuma today, he is perhaps more unpopular than what people thought.

"What I think we need to realise is that December is just around the corner and more people may put up their hands and say they’re against a Zuma ticket in December. Some ANC MPs may have been too scared to vote against Zuma today, but if there's a natural exit in December they may be more willing to vote against him."

Although the ANC will claim victory after President Jacob Zuma survived yet another vote of no confidence in the National Assembly on Tuesday it is short-lived, said Richard Calland, law professor at the University of Cape Town. 

Calland said it's significant that close to 30 ANC MPs must have voted with the opposition. "Although the ruling party will try and paper over these divisions, the fact remains that it is an indictment on them that the vote had to take place by secret ballot." 

READ: Vote to keep Zuma in power a vote for corruption - OUTA

Similarly, the outcome is a win-win for the opposition, considering that ANC MPs voted in favour of the motion and that Zuma remains president of the country. "Zuma is the opposition's greatest electoral asset," Calland added. 

Melanie Verwoerd, political analyst and a former ANC MP, said the "problem" with the secret ballot is that Zuma would have always emerged much stronger if he were to survive the motion of no confidence. "He is now virtually untouchable."

As for the ANC, Verwoerd said the fact that the votes had to be cast in secret does not send out a good signal in terms of the ruling party's willingness to engage critically.

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jacob zuma  |  parliament  |  no confidence vote

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