In 1999, the New National Party (remember them?) and the Democratic Party decided to form a coalition in the Western Cape, simply to keep the ANC (which had received the most votes, just not with an outright majority) from governing the province. The following year, they fought the local government elections under the banner of the newly formed Democratic Alliance. Soon after the elections, they petitioned the speaker of the National Assembly to allow them to defect from the NNP and the DP to the DA, which had no seats in Parliament. The DP sat at one end and the NNP a little further away, but with other opposition parties in between.
That started the process to legalise floor-crossing. It was this petition that sparked it all. But, as with many other issues, they soon found it was not a good thing, as they were actually losing more MPs than they thought they would gain. Only the ruling ANC came out tops.
The opposition went berserk, accusing the ANC of rigging and bribery, keeping just shy of calling its members children of evil spirits.
Back to today. After Polokwane (need I explain this?), many rumours were doing the rounds. One of them was that the ANC in Parliament was going to force an early election. I heard ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe from then till the past weekend “categorically denying” (I love this term!) this rumour. Even Thabo Mbeki, during his interview with the SABC, stated categorically (uhm!) that he remained in charge of the Cabinet and had not received any request or instruction from Luthuli House to reshuffle the Cabinet or to step down.
The only people I heard talking openly about a changing of the guard were the opposition parties — the very same opposition leaders who criticised ANC president Jacob Zuma for rumours spread by people other than the official ANC leadership!
On February 12, Patricia de Lille, on behalf of the ID, will table a formal vote of no confidence in the president of the republic, as well as his Cabinet. And if one can believe Helen Zille, the DA will wholeheartedly support this. Should a miracle happen and this proposal is pushed through (although it would need about 200 votes from ANC MPs — fat chance!), it would mean that the entire Cabinet would be effectively sacked and Parliament would have to appoint a caretaker government until elections are organised within three months.
The ANC is confident that it can win the elections scheduled for next year. But it seems to me — of course just my humble opinion — that the opposition cannot wait for Jacob Zuma to be president of South Africa. For this privilege, it is willing to sacrifice a lot of hard work and incur extra spending for the country.
Maybe the opposition knows something about a possible Zuma presidency that we ordinary souls do not or cannot comprehend.
Well, if you differ from this opinion, the Constitution guarantees you the right to be wrong …