Fire Zuma or lose face‚ Maimane tells Ramaphosa

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.  Image: Moeletsi Mabe
DA leader Mmusi Maimane on Wednesday hand-delivered a petition signed by over a million South Africans to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

In his petition‚ delivered at Tuynhuys‚ Cape Town‚ he appeals to Ramaphosa as the one person who can save South Africa by choosing the “honourable course” by voting to fire Zuma.

At the same time Maimane calls into question Ramaphosa’s honesty: “Because if you’re out there in the spotlight of the media saying one thing‚ but doing the exact opposite in the benches of the ANC and behind the closed doors of caucus and cabinet meetings‚ then there is only one conclusion South Africans can draw: You cannot be trusted.”

The petition comes ahead of a motion no confidence against Zuma‚ which is due to be tabled in Parliament next Tuesday.

Below is the full version of the Maimane’s speech:

My fellow South Africans‚ People often ask me: “What can ordinary South Africans do to save our country from the looting that is taking place?”

People want to step into the fight. They feel justifiably angry‚ but they also feel powerless.

They see the evidence against Jacob Zuma and Guptas piling up like this big‚ flat mountain here next to us‚ but to them it seems like the guilty are getting away with it.

And to these people I say: Do everything you possibly can. March with us. Write to an MP. Use your vote. Sign a petition. Exhaust every single avenue.

Because together these actions cannot go unnoticed.

And I have brought them here to the steps of Tuynhuys so that I can leave them in the hands of the Deputy President. Because if anyone needs reminding of exactly what must be done to save our country‚ it is Cyril Ramaphosa. Mr Ramaphosa‚ I call on you today to do what you know is the right thing.

There is only one ethical and honourable course of action here. You know it‚ I know it‚ and every single South African knows it.

We call on you to vote to fire President Zuma in next week’s Motion of No Confidence. We also call on you to use your position as Leader of Government Business to encourage ANC MPs to vote in accordance with their oaths of office‚ and to vote President Zuma out.

Three weeks ago you told the world that you will not remain quiet when it comes to the looting of our country through state capture.

You said: “When things like these are spewing out in our national discourse‚ we cannot turn a blind eye. We cannot keep quiet. We now know without any shred of uncertainty that billions of Rands of public money have been diverted into the pockets of a few.”

Those are fighting words. But words mean nothing until you put them in action. For the millions of South Africans who suffer every day in this country under this disastrous government‚ your loyalty to the ANC means nothing.

They want straight answers and they want accountability. They want you to do your job. And when you say you will not remain silent about those who are looting our country‚ the people of South Africa want you to speak up where it really matters.

Not at an SACP congress. Not in interviews. Not in the media. No‚ if you want to show us you are a man of your word – a man of integrity – then raise your voice where it matters.

As the Leader of Government Business‚ you are arguably the most influential voice in the cabinet and in the ANC caucus. This is where you must not remain silent.

Because if you’re out there in the spotlight of the media saying one thing‚ but doing the exact opposite in the benches of the ANC and behind the closed doors of caucus and cabinet meetings‚ then there is only one conclusion South Africans can draw: You cannot be trusted.

Apart from your own sworn duty to your country – which compels you to do the right thing and vote in favour of the Motion of No Confidence next week – you have a responsibility to hold your ANC colleagues to their duty too.

Some of these colleagues have spoken out recently and said that they intend to vote with their conscience. MP’s like Makhosi Khoza‚ Pravin Gordhan and Mondli Gungubele. But these people have been threatened with disciplinary action – even with their jobs.

Is this what you fear too‚ Mr Ramaphosa? It seems that if you have a conscience in the ANC‚ you are done.

This is something Gwede Mantashe confirmed on Monday when he said: “If they had a conscience‚ they should have discovered it before they agreed to be in Parliament on an ANC list.”

Surely this cannot be true‚ Mr Ramaphosa? Gwede Mantashe must be wrong. Surely there must be space within your party for men and women to act with courage of conviction; to put South Africa first.

We’ve been here on seven occasions in the past.

And in seven previous Motion of No Confidence votes you and your colleagues in the ANC benches chose to stand behind a corrupt president rather than the people of South Africa.

This eighth vote will likely be the last chance you will have to prove yourselves. If you fail to use it‚ you will sink along with the ANC.

Whether by secret ballot or open ballot‚ there is only one possible correct vote on this motion. Anything other than support for the motion will be a dereliction of your duty‚ and this includes a choice to abstain from voting.

Anyone who aspires to the highest office in the land has to stand with the people. This should go without saying. The signatures in these boxes represent the will of the people. There is no grey area when it comes to what is expected of you.

The ball is in your court now. Let your conscience guide you‚ and know that the people will not forget your decision. Thank you.

TimesLIVE

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