#ZumaVote: What will happen if the vote of no confidence succeeds?

A perception has been created that passing a vote of no confidence in the President will collapse the government and create chaos.

  • If a vote of no confidence is successful, the President and the entire Cabinet would have to resign.
  • The Speaker will become the acting president.
  • The NA must elect a new president from its members within 30 days.
  • To be elected a new president would need the support of the majority of the members of the NA.
  • He or she could re-appoint cabinet ministers who served in the Zuma cabinet.

The so called chaos that may ensue will be the result of factionalism within the ANC. This will be the result of having to decide on who will be the new President. If the ANC National Executive Committee nominates one candidate i.e. Baleka Mbete and members of the Parliamentary wing of the party backs Cyril Ramaphosa, this could lead to instability and division in the party. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma could not be elected because she is not currently a member of the NA.



Fears exist that the Speaker may delay the vote to elect a new President, which would allow ANC MPs to be removed and replaced by Zuma supporters.

  • According to Section 86(3) of the Constitution “An election to fill a vacancy in the office of president must be held at a time and on a date determined by the Chief Justice, but not more than 30 days after the vacancy occurs.”
  • The Speaker can not delay the vote as she does not schedule it.
  • As it is difficult to remove MPs it is highly unlikely that they will be replaced with Zuma supporters.
  • MPs who refuse to resign despite being instructed to do so by their party can only be removed by expelling them from the party.
  • The ANC Constitution does not provide for summary expulsion from the party. If it attempted to expel ANC MPs who supported a vote of no confidence without following the procedures prescribed by its Constitution, a court could review and invalidate that expulsion, allowing the MP to continue serving in the NA for several months.
  • So unless ANC MPs willingly resign when told to do so, they could not be replaced by Zuma supporters before a vote for a new president occurs.



Another envisioned scenario is that if President Zuma is removed from office, he could be sworn in as an MP immediately and be re-elected as President.

  • President Zuma is not currently a member of the NA as he ceases to be that when he is elected as President by the NA.
  • If he is removed he could not be re-elected as President unless he could be sworn in as an MP by the time the Chief Justice has scheduled a new vote for President.
  • This could only happen if President Zuma was at the top of the ANC’s national or one of its provincial electoral lists and there was a vacancy in the NA.
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