Constitutional court to decide on Zuma impeachment bid

The Constitutional Court will rule on Friday on whether parliament must start proceedings to impeach President Jacob Zuma‚ EFF spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi confirmed to TimesLIVE.

16/12/2017. ANC President Jacob Zuma gestures to the media before addressing delegates at the 54th ANC National Conference taking place in Nesrac.
Picture: Masi Losi

In a court case in September‚ political parties the EFF‚ DA and UDM asked the court to step in and order the speaker of parliament‚ Baleka Mbete‚ to set up a committee to start impeachment proceedings against Zuma. This was because he violated the Constitution when spending taxpayers’ money upgrading his private Nkandla home.

In court‚ advocate for the EFF Tembeka Ngcukaitobi argued that Mbete had failed in her parliamentary duty to scrutinise Zuma’s conduct and that she also “frustrated” political parties’ bids to do so.

The case centred around whether Mbete and members of parliament had followed all the rules and proceedings to make Zuma account for his violation of the Constitution. However‚ Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng told advocate Ngcukaitobi that the case was not about parliamentary procedures‚ but merely a bid to get rid of Zuma.

“Your client (EFF) wants to have the president removed from office.”

The political parties argued in court they wanted Zuma to be forced to appear before a parliamentary hearing to explain his role in the Nkandla saga.

But Mogoeng was incredulous that Zuma would say anything different to what he had said in the 27 question and answer sessions on Nkandla held by parliament.

“We know what Zuma thinks don’t we‚” the chief justice said on the day.

During the hearing‚ the judges grilled advocates on why the court should intervene in parliamentary procedures.

South Africa is a constitutional democracy and this means the courts‚ parliament and the executive all keep each other’s power in check‚ but do not do each other’s jobs.

Mogoeng and many judges expressed “discomfort” with the court doing parliament’s job by stepping in and telling Mbete how to hold Zuma accountable.

The hearing ran for almost ten hours‚ double the usual length of a constitutional case‚ with a highly-engaged Mogoeng allowing all the advocates extra time to argue their points and answer questions.

By: Katharine Child – TimesLIVE

Source: TMG Digital.

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