But like a desperate drowning man he was clutching at an ANC straw to keep him afloat.
President Jacob Zuma cut a rather pathetic figure at the intended triumphalist showpiece outside Parliament on stage before his supporters after he narrowly avoided being cast aside by MPs across the board.
He came within 11 votes out of 400 of having to pack his bags. That should be scary in anyone’s books.
Zuma was down, but not yet out. And was he brave? Oh no, he sought to drag the ANC down with him. He insisted on equating his Pyrrhic victory as a victory for the ANC, when the real victory for the ANC was that two-and-a-half dozen of its MPs chose to vote with their conscience against him.
But Zuma insisted the ANC had won, and in fact, couldn’t be beaten, recounting how the ANC and he had faced eight votes of no confidence in eight years. Anyone else would have shut up about that. But like a desperate drowning man he was clutching at an ANC straw to keep him afloat. Yet, as the brave ANC MP Makhosi Khoza insisted before that watershed vote, support for the vote of no confidence was not a vote against the ANC: “It is a vote against the kleptocracy President Jacob Zuma has actively developed. It’s a vote against corruption. It’s a vote in defence of our democracy.”
Why, then, did Zuma insist a vote for him was a vote for the ANC? Was he being cowardly?
Our people have faced cowards before in the form of the apartheid regime.
That’s why, when we decided to take up arms with the formation of the heroic People’s Army uMkhonto we Sizwe on December 16, 1961, the very first Strategy and Tactics document which underpinned that decision began with the fact that there comes a time in the life of any nation when it must decide to submit or fight.
This is precisely what axed deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas said at a march outside Parliament on the eve of the vote: “Submit and be happy or fight.”
He didn’t mean an armed struggle, but a mass struggle. It’s in your hands.