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Should ConCourt side with opposition, will MPs vote to impeach Zuma?

The court will on Friday decide on whether Parliament should initiate impeachment proceedings against President Jacob Zuma.

FILE: Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Congress of the People (Cope) leader Mosiuoa Lekota says should the Constitutional Court rule in favour of opposition parties to impeach the president, Members of Parliament will vote according to their conscience.

The court will on Friday decide on whether Parliament should initiate impeachment proceedings against President Jacob Zuma.

In 2016, the court delivered a damning ruling in which it stated that Zuma had failed to “uphold, defend and respect the Constitution” when he did not adhere to the remedial actions called for by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.

Lekota says the power dynamics have now shifted following the African National Congress’ elective conference in December.

“Once the Constitutional Court has pushed the ball into the court of the National Assembly, it’s a matter of time before the National Assembly hold a vote that will make it imperative for him to appear before the court and that’s what matters at this point.”

At the same time, United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa says while he is hoping that the Constitutional Court will rule to impeach President Zuma, the issue still needs to be voted on in Parliament.

He says he, therefore, does not believe ANC MPs will be in favour of the process.

Judgement was reserved in September after the Economic Freedom Fighters approached the court seeking a declaratory order to direct Parliament to consider Zuma’s conduct.

The Constitutional Court application brought by the EFF, UDM and Cope seeks to compel the Speaker of Parliament to convene a committee or other independent body to investigate President Zuma’s conduct.

However, Holomisa says should the process involve Members of Parliament having to vote, he has no confidence in ANC MPs voting in favour of impeaching Zuma.

“I don’t have any hopes that the current NEC will have the gut compel Zuma to face the inquiry.”

Lekota says he believes ANC MPs may side with the opposition, calling the ruling party a different creature following its elective conference.

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