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President Jacob Zuma has survived a vote of no confidence in the South African parliament.
ANC parliamentarians broke into song as the result was announced and party supporters outside began dancing. The parliament’s Speaker, Baleka Mbete, announced the motion had been defeated, with 177 votes in support and 198 votes against.
There were nine abstentions.
The rand fell by 1% immediately after the result was announced.
The ANC, in a statement issued immediately after the result, said: “We reiterate that we will never endorse or vote in favour of any motion that seeks to cripple our country.”
The motion, submitted by the Democratic Alliance, accused Zuma of “derelict leadership” and said the president has “lost all sense of rationality”.
After surviving the vote, he thanked cheering supporters, adding: “The ANC is there, is powerful, is big… it’s difficult to defeat the ANC.”
Earlier, opposition supporters blocked roads with burning tyres and rocks as they protested ahead of the vote.
Demonstrators in Johannesburg and Cape Town held placards which read “fire Zuma” and “no confidence” during a vocal show of opposition against the president, who is facing allegations of corruption and financial mismanagement.
The result in the vote meant that the 75-year-old and his cabinet will not be forced to step down.
The ruling African National Congress (ANC) party had vowed to back Mr Zuma in the parliamentary ballot, which was held in secret to ensure its credibility.
Eight previous no-confidence motions against Mr Zuma failed – but they were all held via an open process.
Mr Zuma easily survived an impeachment vote in 2016 after South Africa’s highest court ruled he had breached the constitution over government funds spent renovating his private home.
A public prosecutor’s report made reference to improvements such as a cattle enclosure, amphitheatre, visitor centre, chicken run and swimming pool.
The president initially refused to pay any of the money back and claimed the swimming pool was a fire-fighting reservoir.
He later said he would abide by a court ruling ordering him to repay some of the 240m rand (£11m) spent.
Mr Zuma has also been criticised for his links to the Indian-born Gupta family, whom he allegedly granted influence over government appointments, contracts and state-owned businesses.
Mosiuoa Lekota, leader of opposition party Congress of the People, described the secret ballot against the President as “groundbreaking”.
He said: “It places the responsibility of the motion of no confidence squarely on the shoulders of the men and women who sit in the National Assembly.”
Source: Sky NEWS