The motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma was not an attack on democracy, but an attempt to dislodge the Gupta family from the centre of power, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema told the National Assembly on Tuesday.
Malema began his speech in the debate on the motion by saluting Speaker Baleka Mbete for her courage in calling a secret ballot on the motion, hypothetically enabling African National Congress (ANC) MPs to vote according to their conscience without fear of sanction.
“She went against the wishes of the officials of the ANC – we salute her for that,” Maimane said.
In a supreme insult, he referred to Zuma not by name but as “Duduzane’s father”, and said ANC MPs must not see the opposition motion as a bid to remove a democratically elected president, but an alternative, non-elected power group who have been handed the reins of power.
“Ours is not against the ANC, but against the father of Duduzane, because Duduzane’s father is the most corrupt individual in this country,” he said.
“We have a problem with the Cabinet getting reshuffled by people who are not elected,” he said, insinuating that Zuma was doing the Gupta brothers’ bidding when he sacked Pravin Gordhan as finance minister at the end of March.
Malema then went on to urge ruling party MPs to think of their legacy, when they cast their ballots after the debate.
He said the party had bled support at the polls in 2016 for not acting against Zuma over the Nkandla scandal.
“Can you imagine what is going to happen in 2019 if you continue the way you are here?” he asked.
“Your conscience will remain with you, you are writing your own history as you sit here.”
Turning to Cyril Ramaphosa, he added: “Deputy President you are writing your own history.”