Embattled President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, is no stranger to controversy. In the mid-2000s, prior to his election for his first term as President of South Africa, he was charged with rape although the charges did not stick. Following this episode, Zuma has also found himself increasingly scrutinized while he has been in office with racketeering charges and several hundred corruption charges leveled against him for various reasons including his tendency to enrich cronies and friends while the South African unemployment rate balloons to nearly 30 percent. Because of this, his opponents have sought his ouster eight separate times, although this one was the most serious. The reason for the increase in seriousness from an already high-stakes issue is that for the first time the vote was done by members of the National Assembly (the South African Legislature) in secret.
While the results did not allow for the ouster of the deeply unpopular two-term president the fact that he received fewer votes than there are members of his party the African National Congress (ANC) in the National Assembly is a sign that even they are growing concerned over their leader’s failings. 198 Members of the 400 member Assembly voted not to remove him, while 180 members, many of them opposition but at least fifty members of his own party (the ANC has 249 seats) either did not vote or voted with the ANC’s opposition and agree that it is time for Zuma to go. In order to remove Zuma from power 201 votes were needed in favor of “no confidence”. Although Zuma’s term is set to last through 2019 this latest showing of opposition strength and ANC disunity may only be the quiet before the storm for Zuma and even if it does not result in jail time for the President, may mean that the ANC’s stranglehold on power in post-Apartheid South Africa is waning to a disappointing corruption filled end.