The possibility of the National Assembly instituting impeachment proceedings against president Jacob Zuma has split the Constitutional Court, with the Chief Justice and his Deputy making some serious allegations against seven Justices. The majority ordered Parliament to work out a constitutional impeachment directive in its rules.
The majority of seven parried the bruising blow of judicial overreach by insisting that they only told Parliament to do their job. This despite the fact that the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) conceded that there are mechanisms in the rules to hold the president accountable.
Since the court’s bruising 2016 judgment, where it found that the President had indeed violated the constitution (an impeachable ground), Zuma has survived three attempts to have him removed from office.
Chief Justice Mogoeng says opposition parties are making relentless efforts to find another more onerous way to get rid of the President. Motions of no confidence need a simple majority to be carried, while impeachment requires a two thirds majority.
Meanwhile, political analyst Sithulego Matebesi has warned that if the African National Congress (ANC) continues to avoid holding President Jacob Zuma accountable following the Constitutional Court’s ruling on Nkandla, the party’s brand will be damaged beyond repair.
The ANC says its newly-elected National Executive Committee will study the outcome of Friday’s Constitutional Court judgment against president Zuma and discuss its implications when it meets on 10 January 2018.
The judgment has paved the way for Parliament to initiate proceedings to impeach Zuma. According to the judgment the National Assembly has failed to hold the President accountable following the court’s ruling on Nkandla. That ruling found that Zuma had failed to uphold, defend and respect the constitution.
“Political trajectory with all these judgments will have significant implications for the ANC. You can go back and do your own homework, with each election, the ANC is gradually losing ground and I think it has a lot to do with them not being able to deal with people like President Jacob Zuma,” says Matebesi.