'ANC is united behind corruption' - Maimane
Cape Town - In an attempt to keep the pressure on the ANC after some of its members supported an opposition motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma, the DA called for the dissolution of Parliament, which if it succeeds, would necessitate early elections.
"Let's uphold the will of the people," said DA leader Mmusi Maimane when he announced on Wednesday morning that the DA will table a motion for the dissolution of Parliament on Thursday.
This announcement comes a day after between 30 and 40 ANC MPs voted to remove Zuma as president, with mass rallies across the country calling for the same, although there were also rallies in support of Zuma.
"The ANC may have won in the no confidence motion in Parliament yesterday, but it has lost the confidence of the country," said Maimane.
"Yesterday, Jacob Zuma survived yet again, protected by the party that elected him twice and shielded him from accountability countless times. South Africa now needs a new beginning.
"We believe the voters should now have the chance to express their opinion about the conduct of the ANC in defending Jacob Zuma. In short, we believe that Parliament should be dissolved now so that the country can hold an early election."
On Tuesday morning, before the afternoon's motion of no confidence, the ANC caucus was told by ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe to vote against the motion as it is an attempt to get the ANC out of power.
The ANC's speeches in defence against the motion during the debate, notably that of ministers Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and Nathi Mthethwa, echoed this sentiment, rather than defending Zuma. Mthethwa went as far as likening the motion as an attempted coup de' tat and regime change.
Maimane dismissed the question whether the motion to dissolve Parliament would serve as a rallying point for the clearly divided ANC.
"The ANC is united behind corruption. It is not my job to unite the ANC. I don't have that power."
He dismissed the regime change notion, saying the Constitution provides for motions of no confidence or to dissolve Parliament.
"Regime change would propose someone like Saddam Hussein," he said.
"The call is for the strengthening of democracy, not regime change."
During Tuesday's debate, when ANC speakers said the motion of no confidence was an attempt to remove the ANC government, EFF MPs raised points of order, saying it wasn't an attempt to remove the ANC, but to remove Zuma. EFF leader Malema also said at the opposition leaders' press conference that the will of the people, expressed in the 2014 election, must be respected.
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa told News24 last week that it would simply be impractical to hold early elections.
"We said Zuma must go, so obviously the ANC will continue to 2019. We are not contesting that," Holomisa said.
"All we are interested in is for Zuma to leave because he has violated the oath of office."
Maimane said the DA would lobby other parties to support the motion.
"Parties must then take a position, " he said.
He said he was aware of the challenges currently faced by the Independent Electoral Commission, but did not see it as an impediment to an early election.