By KRISTA MAHR, Associated Press
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa’s main opposition party submitted a motion to dissolve the nation’s parliament on Thursday, which, if passed, would require fresh national elections.
“The ANC is willing to do anything to protect President Jacob Zuma,” said John Steenhuisen, chief whip of the Democratic Alliance party. “South Africans need to be given the opportunity to make their voices heard at the polls.”
The dissolution motion comes hot on the heels of a no confidence vote which Zuma narrowly survived earlier this week.
The dissolution attempt, which requires 201 out of 400 parliamentary votes to pass, is seen as unlikely to succeed as the ANC holds a majority of 249 of the house’s seats.
The motion says the some ANC lawmakers “no longer represent the earnest hopes and aspirations of the electorate” and “exhibit unquestioning fealty to President Jacob Zuma and to the organization he leads.”
The ANC blasted the DA’s move as an attempt to subvert the will of South African voters by trying to dissolve a government that received 62 percent of the national vote in the 2014 polls.
Zuma has survived multiple attempts by the opposition to remove him from power, as he has faced growing anger over multiple allegations of corruption while the economy has slid into recession.
Tuesday’s no-confidence motion was the first to be held by secret ballot, and more than 25 members of his ruling party revolted and supported the motion or abstained, the ANC said.
“We are deeply disappointed that some of our ANC members allowed themselves to be used by the opposition to fracture and weaken the ANC and destabilize our country,” the party said in a statement. It did not say how and if it would discipline members who did not tow the party line.
The ANC is expected to replace Zuma as party president at a meeting in December, but his term as head of state is set to continue until elections in 2019.