With such a close result in the no-confidence vote, of which we had reported yesterdayHardly anyone had reckoned with this beforehand: South Africa's President Zuma survived the vote of no confidence, but had to accept votes against him from within his own ranks. A clear sign that the ANC is deeply divided.
By Jan-Philippe Schlüter, ARD-studio Johannesburg
With a wide grin, President Jacob Zuma is swinging on stage in front of the parliament in Cape Town and thanks his followers. The ANC proved again today that it was the party of the people.
Shortly before, Zuma had once again passed a vote in the South African Parliament. The ANC has used its majority to make the opposition's request fail. Accordingly, ANC group leader Jackson Mthembu said afterwards in the cameras: "The ANC deputies did not betray us. They did not betray the national democratic revolution. They defended their movement and also President Zuma. We are very happy that we have crossed this transparent manoeuvre of the opposition to divide and weaken the ANC. "
But above all, Mthembu might have been very relieved. Because the result of the vote was much more scarce than was expected before. 177 deputies voted for the vote, 198 against the secret ballot. This means that about 30 ANC parliamentarians oppose their own party chairman and President Zuma voted.
Embarrassing for the ANC
This is an embarrassing result for the ANC, which always appears as a closed organization to the outside world. According to gloat, Julius Malema commented on the opposition "Fighters for Economic Freedom": "We have never received a single vote from the ANC before. Nobody took us seriously. Now we can show that we are right. We win. We push until we land a real victory. "
"Dead Man Walking"
Also Mmusi Maimane, party leader of the "Democratic Alliance", who has brought the vote, stresses the fact that for the first time numerous ANC deputies have voted with the opposition. This shows that Zuma is losing confidence in his own faction: "Zuma is a ' dead Man Walking ' – just a shadow of himself. He has to resign. Today, the ANC majority voted to protect Zuma. But this is a Pyrrhus victory. They have shown that they are jointly defending corruption. "
Policy analyst Richard Callan of the University of Cape Town sees this quite similar. He is convinced that the ANC will only be able to enjoy this scarce victory for a short time: "This result will not whitewash the fractions in the party for long. The ANC is deeply divided with different factions, and President Zuma is very controversial. The opposition could only win today: either they could have claimed to dismantle the president. So you continue to have an important campaign argument with Zuma. "
Zuma doesn't spruce it up. At the end of this nerve-wracking day for his party, he agrees to be followers of a song. Before he kicks off the stage with his dreaded grin.