Cape Town – The ANC has muscled through its majority in the National Assembly on Tuesday by blocking the removal of President Jacob Zuma from office in a motion of no confidence debate.
Speaker Baleka Mbete announced that 177 MPs voted in favour of the motion and 198 against it. There were nine abstentions.
This shows a marked increase becasue previously 113, 99, 126, 143 MPs voted in favour of the motion.
Despite earlier calls from opposition parties and civil society for ANC MPs to do the right thing and back the motion to axe Zuma they decided to stick with the president, ending any hopes he will be out of the job soon.
This was one of the toughest motion debates in Parliament in the last few years with ANC MPs being read the riot act in the caucus by the top brass earlier.
Zuma attended the caucus meeting earlier in the day.
ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe briefed the caucus where he gave ANC MPs an instruction not to back the motion.
The vote in the National Assembly was preceded by the debate where both sides attacked each other.
The opposition insisted in the debate that they wanted Zuma to go because he had plunged the country into a crisis and his links with the Guptas.
The ANC argued that the motion was against the party and not Zuma.
They said the opposition wanted to topple the its government through an undemocratic process.
But ANC MPs used their majority to stop attempts by the opposition to remove Zuma from office.
This was the eighth motion of no confidence against Zuma in the last few years.
In all the motions in Parliament Zuma has defeated the opposition and kept his job.