The speaker of South Africa’s parliament said on Sunday that she would consider a request from opposition parties to hold a no confidence vote on President Jacob Zuma.
Baleka Mbete, who is also the national chairperson of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), made the remarks in a televised news conference after she cut short a trip abroad.
“Given the seriousness inherent in the motions of no confidence and their implication on the nation, I have therefore decided to cut my trip to Bangladesh short to ensure that these requests are given the appropriate consideration,” Mbete told reporters Sunday as she landed at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. Parliament is currently on its Easter recess.
Zuma and his cabinet would have to resign if a no-confidence motion succeeds, according to Masibulele Xaso, the National Assembly secretary.
Zuma’s sacking of his finance minister Pravin Gordhan last week shook South African markets, undermining his authority and threatening to split the ANC which has governed since the end of apartheid.
The ANC has used its 62 percent majority in the 400-seat National Assembly to block four previous motions of no-confidence, which require a simple majority to pass, and one impeachment attempt filed by the opposition since Zuma took office in May 2009. It’s been comfortably the biggest party in South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994.