South African opposition parties have submitted a motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma saying that corruption and unemployment have risen, the justice system has been politicised, and the economy has weakened.

The motion, backed by eight parties, was triggered by the recent deadly mine strikes, the downgrading of the country's credit rating by two major agencies, and big spending of state funds on Zuma's rural residence, according to a joint statement by the parties on Thursday.

"President Zuma no longer has the confidence of our political parties to serve as president on the grounds that under his leadership the justice system has been weakened and politicised, corruption in the public service has spiraled out of control, unemployment levels continue to increase, the economy is weakening, and the right of access to quality education has been violated," the statement said.

Lindiwe Mazibuko, the Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader, brought the motion forward on Thursday in the National Assembly.

The motion is to be debated in parliament, where most seats are held by Zuma's African National Congress (ANC).

The ANC's office of the chief whip called the motion "a desperate, if not silly, publicity stunt by a group of attention-seeking opposition leaders ... is not based on any fact or evidence, and therefore amounts to nothing but character assassination".

The office said it has proposed that parliament reaffirm its full confidence in Zuma's leadership. 

Zuma residence

Zuma has been embroiled in controversy recently over millions of dollars of additions to his private rural residence while millions of South Africans still lack decent homes, running water, electrical power and adequate access to health and education services.

This after his standing had already been shaken by the worst state violence since the end of apartheid when police
shot dead 34 striking platinum miners in August.

Zuma is widely seen by striking miners as aloof to their concerns that they are not paid enough for the difficult and dangerous work they perform.

The no-confidence motion was backed by the African Christian Democratic Party, the Azanian People's Organisation, the Congress of the People, the Democratic Alliance, the Freedom Front Plus, the Inkatha Freedom Party, the
United Christian Democratic Party and the United Democratic Movement.

Source: Agencies