In the end, this wasn’t a terribly surprising outcome. The odds were always in the Cabinet’s favour, but events on Wednesday resulted in ANC ministers keeping their jobs, in the face of a no confidence vote.
The sitting certainly wasn’t an exercise in diplomacy or civility. Verbal battles and arguments with both Speakers characterised both the debate and the vote itself. Tempers were frayed towards the end of the session, as ANC and DA representatives continued to trade barbs.
Both John Steenhuisen and Natasha Mazzone tried their level best to garner support for the DA’s no confidence motion, giving blistering speeches in Cape Town’s makeshift National Assembly. However, their efforts fell short.
Every ANC member eligible to vote on the matter kept the party line, with hundreds voting to keep the Cabinet in place. This killed off any hopes the DA had of winning, as they needed to get a few turncoats on-board.
The Blues also saw their campaign hampered when other rival parties failed to support their motion. Both GOOD and Al-Jama-ah vehemently declared their opposition, downing any chance of the opposition putting on a united front.
The DA also saw an attempt to ban the Cabinet members from voting downed on Tuesday. Had that succeeded, we might have had a much closer contest on our hands. Alas, the serving ministers survived by a margin of 100 votes exactly. Steenhuisen and his colleagues got nowhere near the 50% + 1 support required.
(JUST IN) The DA’s no confidence motion against Cabinet has been defeated.
Those in favour – 131 (DA, EFF, FF+, ACDP, UDM, ATM).
Those against – 231 (ANC, IFP, GOOD, NFP, AIC, Al Jama-aha)
Abstain – 1 (COPE)#sabcnews
— Bulelani Phillip (@BulelaniPhillip) March 30, 2022
With that, the Cabinet lives to fight another day. The DA have vowed to keep fighting, and this no confidence vote is arguably a precursor for the run-up to the 2024 Elections. If the atmosphere is anything like what we saw in Parliament today, we can all expect a hostile battle on the campaign trail.