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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 12:57 pm 
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...annnnnnd the votes are in. (Just in - the announcement was televised)

177 in support of the Motion of No Confidence
198 against the Motion
9 abstentions
Total of 384 votes

So the Motion of No Confidence is defeated; Zuma remains President for the moment.

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 4:37 pm 
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Given a secret ballot, is the result likely to be accurate and honest? I'm asking honestly, I have no idea what the level of protections is for a vote like this in SA.

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 6:54 pm 
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kitoba wrote:
Given a secret ballot, is the result likely to be accurate and honest?


Yes. It gets run by the Independent Electoral Commission, and they really are independent. About all Zuma could do is intimidate the ANC members of parliament with threats of losing their seats and/or their positions in the party. Which he probably did. But once the actual vote begins, he doesn't get to meddle or see who voted which way.

Incidentally, there are 151 non-ANC seats in Parliament. So, including the nine abstentions, at least 35 ANC members did not vote against the motion, and at least 26 must have voted directly in favour of it. (Victory required 50 ANC votes in favour, out of 249). Four of the ANC MPs were outspoken before the election, loudly and publically declaring their intention to vote in favour before the vote itself took place; Zuma is going to have to guess the identities of the rest if he wants to do anything in response (which he probably does).

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 7:34 am 
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Huh. Party ├╝ber alles, it seems.

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:49 pm 
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So Zuma and his crowd pulled all sort of strings, to prevent the secret ballot, pissed off allies in the process, and in the end it turns out it was not neccessary in the first place.

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:08 pm 
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The ANC is very much the party of Party Uber Alles. They've pretty much adopted it as policy; they're supposed to keep any disagreements very much internal and present a united front to all external advisors. (Zuma's inability to do this has caused friction before - he has a bad habit of doing things after consulting with his good friends the Guptas but before bothering to inform his party).

I have heard that apparently there is a viewpoint in part of the ANC that, while Zuma must go, it's embarrassing to have opposition parties have to step in and help with said push; adherents of such a viewpoint would rather he be removed internally within the ANC itself (presumably at their December conference). Adherents of such a view would also have voted against the motion.

As for Zuma's delaying tactics; they may well have saved him from the vote. Had the vote proceeded by secret ballot back when it was originally scheduled - before the whole court case regarding the secretness of the ballot, when Zuma's cabinet reshuffle was still fresh in everyone's minds and the December ANC policy conference far away - Zuma might very well have had more votes cast against him. We'll never know for sure whether or not he could have been defeated; but it's not unreasonable to guess that the delay may have been critical.

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Thu Aug 10, 2017 12:13 am 
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Well crap.

I guess nobody wanted to stick their necks out. They might have only flipped if they were reasonably certain that there were too many of them for Zuma to figure out who they were.

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:47 am 
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That and, had the vote gone through, and then had Parliament been unable to figure out a new president within thirty days (which is very possible; there's no clarity on who Zuma's successor would be), we would have had a complete re-election. Given the current feeling of a lot of people, the ANC would have lost quite a few seats. So those MPs who were near the end of the ANC's party lists, or who had reason to suspect they might get pushed to the end, would have had firm financial reasons to vote against the motion - had it succeeded, they might have ended up saying a sudden goodbye to their MP salaries.

It's not a good reason. It's not a reason I want MPs taking that vote to use. But it's a reasoning that some of them may well have used.

However, this vote is far from the last attempt to unseat Zuma. The DA has started setting in process a motion to dissolve Parliament and thus force early elections (this seems a bit of a long shot). Meanwhile, the EFF (headed by a former member of the ANC who formed his own party after they threw him out) already has a motion in court arguing that Zuma should be impeached which will be heard on 5 September...

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:03 am 
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One particular highlight from the Motion of No Confidence vote, as pointed out here, is that none of the ANC members who spoke up in support of Zuma even tried to claim that he had been doing a good job of running the country. Instead the focus was on the claim that opposition parties are trying to use the vote to unseat the ANC as a whole...

As to Zuma's future, he still has a few more bullets to dodge. These (more info at the link in the previous sentence) include:

- The EFF's court application, which will be heard on September 5th, to try to force the Speaker to take the previous Nkandla incident seriously, which may, in the end, after much delay, lead to impeachment proceedings being started.
- The DA's court application, which will be heard on September 14th, to reinstate the 783 charges of corruption against Zuma (which were dropped due to some mysterious 'spy tapes' shortly after Zuma appointed a new head of the National Prosecuting Authority). Note that this saga has been going on since around 2009; the wheels of justice may grind slow, but they grind extra-slow when grinding on the man who gets to appoint the head of the National Prosecuting Authority. So I persona;;y don't expect this to go anywhere while Zuma is president.
- The DA's bid to dissolve Parliament. This will require, once again, 201 votes in favour and is more likely to cause personal trouble for MPs than the no-confidence vote. This has, on the face of it, virtually no chance of success - but, on the other hand, virtually no cost if it fails, either, and it might even help improve the DA's votes in the next election either way.
- (Not mentioned in the above article, but still worth bearing in mind) In December, the ANC will hold its elective conference, during which the new leader of the ANC will be chosen. Depending on exactly who wins out in there, it's possible that the party may afterwards decide to recall Zuma as President and install someone else in that office.

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 5:49 am 
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Well, the results of the vote are still shaking things up. Zuma is trying to go after those ANC MPs who voted against him - which is made rather tricky by, for one thing, the fact that he doesn't know who most of them even are. Nonetheless, he has been reading out excerpts of the ANC's rules at party forums - specifically the rule that prevents ANC members from working with "counter-revolutionary forces" against the ANC - and loudly stating that those who voted for the motion of no confidence should either leave Parliament or face legal action for breaking said rule. (He also says he wants party members to "have an ANC conscience" instead of their own conscience).

But anonymity isn't the only thing protecting those ANC MPs who voted in support of the motion. For one thing, among those people who have publicly said that they supported the motion are the head of the ANC's disciplinary committee. And, somehow, he doesn't quite appear to be quaking in his boots... Zuma might be able to push him out of Parliament, but doing so might well cost the ANC a couple of major provinces in the next election. And it's not like an accomplished politician like him wouldn't be able to form or join another party and contest elections in any case... much like Julius Malema did when the ANC threw him out (and now his party, the EFF, while nowhere near as large as the ANC or the DA, is managing a pretty solid third place and stands to gain a lot of votes from the ANC's troubles in the next election...).

It's going to be a long, long time until the 2019 elections. But the ANC will need to do something pretty impressive by then to hold onto its parliamentary majority.

--------------

And then there's the saga of the treasure troves of leaked emails that show the extent of the corruption and bribes paid by the Gupta family (including heavy bribes to Zuma and some of his sons). We're talking more than 100 000 emails which were apparently dumped in journalist's laps in the runup to the no-confidence vote. (The Guptas themselves have decried the emails as 'fake', but I haven't heard of anyone pointing to any evidence thereof - and I don't believe anyone could create a 100 000-strong pile of fake emails without including at least some details that could easily be used to prove said fakeness).

Now, there is no way that these were obtained by means of a legal search (Exactly where they came from is a bit of a mystery, journalists not being exactly keen to reveal whistleblowers). But, importantly, this does not automatically prevent them from being used in a court of law in South Africa. (Illegally obtained evidence can be ruled inadmissible, but it's left up to a court to do so - one example I saw in a newspaper said that if evidence had been obtained through torture, it would be likely that the court would refuse to be associated with it in any way, while if a policeman illegally searched a house and found a huge pile of (also) illegally obtained banknotes, then that evidence would likely be admissible; given their thorough nature and importance, it's likely that the Gupta emails would be admissible).

And, in the meantime, the emails are very much hurting those people mentioned in them. For example, there's an auditing firm, KPMG - it turns out that they audited a lot of the more corrupt Gupta transactions. The company as a whole is not frantically trying to disassociate themselves from the whole mess and trying to fire the people responsible... but there have already been a number of people saying very publicly that they're going to get someone else to do their auditing from now on, thank you very much.

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 8:28 am 
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Some of you may recall that a lot of South African banks have entirely stopped doing business with the Guptas at all. Apparently they've been working until now with the Bank of Baroda instead... and are now suing the Bank of Baroda for trying to close all their accounts. Sooner or later they're going to run out of banks who are willing to touch them with a ten-foot pole. (I've never heard of said bank before - perhaps because it's primarily an Indian one?)

It's not quite clear to me whether or not they have run out of possible banks quite yet, but I get the impression that they're close. Though the news article does mention that they might have somehow found another bank to handle their banking...

Meanwhile, a former Eskom (state power utility company) director who was implemented in the Gupta emails has now been charged. I expect him to be sentenced and duly handled by the courts, much like Schabir Shaik (a strange case - he was convicted for, basically, paying Zuma a bribe. (The whole incident is part of those seven-hundred-and-eighty-something corruption charges that Zuma is still frantically dodging and delaying). He was then released from prison on 'medical parole' - in short, as a gesture of mercy because he had a terminal illness and would be dead soon in any case. Oddly enough, it's been - what - eight years now? And he's still somehow alive, and still on 'medical parole', an excuse which seems to keep getting thinner and thinner all the time...)

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 3:18 am 
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And so it begins. One of the ANC MPs who spoke out in favour of the Vote of No Confidence is being relieved of her position as "Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration" owing to what is described as an "irretrievable breakdown of relations between herself and ANC members of the committee". In other words, because she spoke out loudly in favour of said motion of no confidence. She's still a member of Parliament, mind you - at least "pending the outcomes of disciplinary action taken against her by the organisation", so probably not for too long.

Mind you, the ANC hasn't yet done anything to fire the Deputy Higher Education Minister, Mduduzi Manana, who recently admitted to having committed assault against a woman in a nightclub (the incident was caught on cellphone footage which has since been played on the news). His only defense seems to be that she called him 'gay', which is hardly something that's worth being punched in the face. Curiously enough, the ANC Women's League is also very silent on the matter, saying only that "there are worse people". So, one can clearly see that such things are not a priority for the ANC...

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 2:52 am 
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Well, Mduduzi Manana, deputy higher education minister, he of the caught-on-camera assault against a woman at a nightclub, has resigned, and made a public apology. Apparently he was told that if he did not, he would be fired.

Of course, it has been pointed out that Manana is perhaps the only MP whose misdeeds are not, in some way or other, associated with Zuma's own misdeeds and the Gupta corruption. Talking of which, those within the party that said they were voting for the motion of no confidence are still facing trouble for it - along with some of those who are suspected of voting in favour of it. But, by and large, those who voted in favour of the proposal and kept quiet about it are protected by their anonymity...

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:12 am 
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So, the UK-based PR firm that the Guptas used to spread their scheme has gone through a bit of trouble as a result. Quite a bit of trouble, in fact.

Specifically, Bell Pottinger had been kicked out of the PRCA, which (as I understand) isn't a thing they do lightly. Nor, for that matter, is it a thing they do pretty much ever. And their CEO has resigned. I understand it's now becoming uncertain whether or not the company will still exist in the near future; they're losing a lot of clients and this sort of sanction is not going to help them get clients back.

Of course, this isn't just going to affect Bell Pottinger. This is also going to mean that any sensible PR company that the Guptas try to use to get their dirty work done is going to be very, very cautious about signing up.

--------------

Somehow, despite all this, Zuma still remains President. And I get the impression that, by this point, a fair amount of people are saying that he won't be leading the ANC after their elective conference in December in any case, so why push to get him out before then? (Well, there are loads of excellent reasons to push him out before then. He can still do a tonne of damage where he is. (And I also get the impression that some of the opposition are in favour of keeping him there on the basis that, while he's doing damage, he's doing more damage to the reputation of the ANC than to just about anything else (a recent poll showed nationwide ANC support diving below the 50% mark)))

And there is, of course, therefore the question of who will replace him as the leader of the ANC. He's pushing hard for his ex-wife, Nkosizane Dlamini-Zuma, to be the next leader of the ANC and South Africa's first female President. She's going up against the current deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa.

And, interestingly, while they may have lost Bell Pottinger, the Guptas still have a strong media presence - certainly strong enough to put out stories they want out. So does Zuma. And both have enough money to hire investigators. Moreover, it's worth bearing in mind that a lot of the actual information on the Guptas comes from a massive treasure trove of leaked emails, known as the Gupta Leaks.

So, when I see a banner ad telling me about the "Ramaphosa Leaks" - apparently a set of emails detailing how Cyril Ramaphosa has not exactly been a perfectly faithful husband - I find myself rather suspecting that either Zuma or Gupta involvement has gone into that. Mind you, it does seem that they got at least some of their facts right - Mr. Ramaphosa has admitted to that much. (I imagine his wife is rather displeased.) However, it's clear that at least some news sources are trying to use the story to undermine Ramaphosa's support - probably ahead of that ANC elective conference in December.

As a PR tactic, however, I don't see it working; not when one considers Zuma's record on such matters. Zuma who has, I believe, four wives at the moment - and that's not counting the one he divorced or the one who died several years ago. Zuma whose defense - when charged with the rape of a completely different lady to whom he never was married - could basically be summarised as "well, she didn't actually say 'no'..."

...yeah. Trying to drum up support for Zuma's side by accusing a member of the other side of marital infidelity doesn't seem likely to work.

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 4:56 am 
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Apparently Bell Pottinger is considering selling itself. Oh, and some company that used to own 27% of Bell Pottinger has apparently returned its stake in the company 'without compensation', which I think says a lot on its own. Mainly, it says that said company really, really, really doesn't want Bell Pottinger on their books any longer, and presumably also that it doesn't think it can make any profit by trying to sell the stake it has.

--------------

On the home front, Zuma's approval ratings have dropped to something like 18% in metropolitan areas. Mind you, he's always been more popular in rural areas; something about the news being slower to get there and having less effect when it does, I think.

At the same time, there have been some media reports asking questions along the lines of, alright, we've got all this evidence of corruption - heaps and heaps and heaps of it - in the form of the Gupta emails and all the other supporting evidence around that. So, why haven't any of the people involved been prosecuted yet? (Subtext: How true is it that the National Prosecuting Authority is pretty much entirely in the Gupta's and/or Zuma's pocket? There have been a lot of hints that, perhaps, just possibly, ever since Zuma became President and chose a new Director for the National Prosecuting Authority who promptly decided that it wasn't worth the bother to continue prosecuting the seven-hundred-odd charges of corruption against Zuma...)

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