News / South Africa

Yadhana Jadoo
2 minute read
6 Sep 2017
5:16 am

Impeachment proceedings against Zuma look unlikely

Yadhana Jadoo

Expert says Chief Justice Mogoeng is clearly cautious about overstepping the Concourt's powers.

The justices of the Consitutional Court. Picture: Yeshiel Panchia

It remains to be seen whether legal teams representing opposition parties have done enough to convince the Constitutional Court to initiate direct impeachment proceedings against President Jacob Zuma.

Advocates were bombarded with questions from the court on whether all avenues were exhausted within the National Assembly under the umbrella of Speaker Baleka Mbete to hold the president accountable for a number of matters, including violation of the constitution.

According to constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos, the court made it clear it was anxious not to overstep its powers and rule on something that should be in the ambit of the National Assembly.

“The question is, what is the obligation of the National Assembly in terms of the constitution? I am not sure they really engaged with that,” De Vos said.

“The court can only intervene if there is an obligation on the National Assembly and they failed to comply with it.”

The Economic Freedom Fighters, United Democratic Movement and Congress of the People are seeking an order to direct parliament to probe Zuma’s conduct and pursue whether he can be impeached following the court’s Nkandla ruling last year that he broke his oath of office and violated the constitution.

The Democratic Alliance was admitted as an intervening party and Corruption Watch has been admitted as a friend of the court.

Advocate Dali Mpofu told the court that a fact-finding enquiry would afford the opportunity to determine if Zuma had deliberately done so.

“Nobody is going to switch off the mics or call the white shirts in an enquiry,” Mpofu said, pointing to the EFF having their voices quelled and being thrown out for their behaviour by the sergeant-at-arms in parliament.

He said people had the right to know if the “president is a crook” and if he can be impeached. But Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng asked whether it was not the responsibility of the National Assembly to decide whether there was a serious violation of the constitution.

“I am saying it remains the responsibility of the National Assembly to hold the president accountable,” he said. –