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By Citizen Reporter

Journalist


Mpofu, Pierre de Vos disagree on Zuma Concourt case

The EFF's national chairperson doesn't think taking Mbete and the National Assembly to court to get rid of Zuma is a waste of time.


The EFF’s national chairperson advocate Dali Mpofu has come out to disagree with constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos, who argues that the constitutional court has no power to dictate to the National Assembly on how it should punish President Jacob Zuma for violating his oath of office.

De Vos argues that from a constitutional law perspective, Zuma will remain the legitimate head of the national executive until he is formally removed from office by voters – through elections – or through the party the voters installed into power, the ANC.

He says it was not “surprising” that the Constitutional Court did not call for the president’s removal when Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng handed down his judgment on the Nkandla issue. This, he says, “would have been impermissible for the Constitutional Court to make such an order” because “judges are not elected and it would be in breach of the separation of powers doctrine for judges to interfere in the power of the democratically elected National Assembly to elect and to remove the president”.

As a result, De Vos argued in his column on the Daily Maverick, that “it is therefore a mistake – and fundamentally undemocratic – to expect the Constitutional Court to remove the president from office or to expect it to instruct the National Assembly to do so. It also signals a lack of respect for voters and the ultimate power they hold to decide the fate of a governing party and the President.”

De Vos wrote this after the EFF said it would approach the Constitutional Court to force the national speaker of parliament, Baleka Mbete, to take disciplinary action against Zuma. The court found the president had violated his oath of office when he failed to uphold and defend the Constitution and his oath of office by refusing to comply with the then public protector Thuli Madonsela’s remedial action.

Mpofu has a different take on this matter. He reckons it’s simply De Vos’ opinion, which can be challenged in court. It is only a reflection of what he thinks, and the EFF doesn’t think that approaching the Constitutional Court is a waste of time.

“No … it only means that @pierredevos THINKS it’s a waste of time and we don’t THINK it’s a waste of time. Same as the Nkandla Concourt case!” wrote Mpofu.

In 2008, the then ANC Youth League president, Julius Malema, promised South Africans that Zuma would even be able to rule from prison, even though that goes against ANC policy.

He said that even if Zuma were found guilty after his corruption trial (which is yet to take place nearly 10 years later), Zuma would still become the next president while in prison.

Removing a president through any means that doesn’t involve the buy-in of the ruling party would appear very difficult.

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Dali Mpofu Pierre de Vos