South African parliament debates call for early election


Former South African President, Jacob Zuma attacks judges who jailed him

FILE PHOTO: South African President Jacob Zuma delivers his State of the Nation address at Parliament in Cape Town February 9, 2012. Zuma on Thursday promised to keep the country’s powerful mining sector “globally competitive”, the latest comment from a senior government official to knock down the prospects of nationalising the mines. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings (SOUTH AFRICA – Tags: POLITICS ENERGY BUSINESS INDUSTRIAL)

South Africa’s parliament will on Sept. 5, debate a proposal for early national elections tabled by the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), the party said on Thursday.

The DA is trying to force President Jacob Zuma from office before the next scheduled election in 2019, but in spite his chequered record in office, the motion seems unlikely to pass.

Zuma is expected to step down as president of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) in December while his term as president runs up to the next election.

He has held power in Africa’s most industrialized economy since 2009, surviving a series of no-confidence votes called in response to a record in office marred by allegations of sleaze and influence-peddling.

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At the last vote on Aug. 8, about 30 ANC lawmakers broke ranks and voted with the opposition, emboldening the DA to push for early elections.

“The reality is that South Africa cannot afford another two years of ANC governance,” the DA’s Chief Parliamentary Whip, John Steenhuisen, said in a statement.

But the ANC retains an overwhelming majority in parliament, and smaller opposition parties said they would not support the DA’s motion, which will be debated on Sept. 5.

Africa’s most industrialized economy slipped into recession earlier this year, hampering efforts to bring down a stubbornly high unemployment rate.

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