Political Watch

Is Zuma giving his constituents the cold shoulder?

Zuma a uninterested bride?

The ease with which President Jacob Zuma survived last week’s parliamentary vote of no confidence was no surprise. What was a surprise, is the reaction to his no-show at the debate.

Considering the fact that, at least de jure in terms of the constitution, it is parliament that elected him to the highest office in the land, he should have shown its members the courtesy of being present in the house to listen to the debate.

There is no law or rule that requires him to have been there. However, one would think that there is a moral imperative, and one of common decency, on him not to treat his constituency with such apparent contempt.

Of course de facto the president, because of the ruling African National Congress’s large majority in parliament, is elected by the elective conference of that party – effectively at least thrice removed from the ordinary voter. It exposes one of the weaker points in the country’s much-lauded constitution.

This situation strengthens the argument recently made by this newsletter that the time has come to take a relook at the 2002 recommendations of the Van Zyl Slabbert commission.

Worrying trend

What happened last week in parliament with the no-confidence debate was just another chapter in the worrying trend of Pres. Zuma and the ANC in recent times using the party’s majority to ignore or undermine parliament’s status and authority.

Other examples include:

  • The ANC’s using its majority to bypass the requirement that parliament should take action over the Nkandla affair as required by the Public Protector in terms of her constitutional mandate;
  • Pres. Zuma’s six-month-long refusal to answer questions in parliament as required, with now some this unfinished business from last year provisionally scheduled for November this year;
  • When Pres. Zuma finally pitched in parliament to answer some questions two weeks ago, he showed contempt for the authority of the speaker by ignoring her when requested to take his seat for her to make a ruling;
  •  He also failed to answer about three-quarters of the questions put to him; and
  • The week before last so few ANC members of parliament pitched that there was no quorum to pass the Division of Revenue Bill.


Most opposition parties went into the debate supporting the motion of no-confidence knowing full well that there was not a snowball’s hope in hell to succeed.

But surely, that was not the main aim. Rather, the motion was aimed at picking up some political kudos from the voting public by exposing the weaknesses of the governing party.

Against this background it is surprising that not much more was made during the debate about Pres. Zuma’s no-show.

The only MP who really zoomed in on this issue was the Freedom Front’s Pieter Groenewald who called Pres. Zuma “a runaway president” and compared the situation to the Hollywood movie The Runaway Bride.

Probably consequently, but nevertheless also surprising, it also generated very little media attention and commentary.

The situation begs the question, has the official opposition, the Democratic Alliance, as well as other opposition parties missed a trick here or, have they and the public in general resigned themselves to the fact that the ANC will always do just what they like, never mind what is right and proper?

Follow us on Twitter | Like us on Facebook
comments powered by Disqus

Subscribe to the newsletter

Final Word

Final Word

IntelligenceBul Final Word Confusing world of sluts, gays and lesbians https://t.co/qCz4oEd22o 0 years - reply - retweet - favorite

IntelligenceBul Let's Think Will Zuma admit that he is a “shady man”? https://t.co/sKBi6kL5lf 0 years - reply - retweet - favorite

IntelligenceBul Propery & Wealth Home-grown financial solution for a truly South African dilemma https://t.co/1XFQO45fNJ 0 years - reply - retweet - favorite