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'No winners in ConCourt judgment on Zuma impeachment'

Parliament’s Moloto Mothapo says this is not a victory for the applicants as they too are members of the National Assembly.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Parliament says the Constitutional Court ruling on the president proves that Speaker Baleka Mbete did not fail to hold the president to account as the entire National Assembly failed, including the opposition in being responsible for not taking action.

Political parties have welcomed the judgment on President Jacob Zuma and the National Assembly, with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) saying it looks forward to Parliament developing the necessary rules that could initiate an impeachment process.

The Constitutional Court has ruled that the assembly failed to hold President Jacob Zuma accountable after the Nkandla ruling, which found that he failed to uphold and respect the Constitution.

The court’s majority ruling stated that the National Assembly failed to make rules to deal with Section 89 of the Constitution, which deals with the removal of a president.

It’s ordered that Parliament attend to this and hold the president to account without delay.

Justice Chris Jafta handed down the judgment, saying the assembly simply voted on the motion of no confidence and did not deal with the violation of the Constitution.

A small group of EFF members celebrated as the party welcomed Friday’s judgment.

But Parliament’s Moloto Mothapo says this is not a victory for the applicants as they too are members of the National Assembly, which has been found to have failed to hold President Zuma to account.

“Even the applicants themselves because they’re part of the National Assembly. Their prayers were that the speaker must be declared to have not held the president accountable and also an order must be made for her to establish an impeachment committee. Now, the Constitutional Court did not grant that.”

LISTEN: Can ANC ask Zuma to resign after ConCourt judgment?

NEC TO DECIDE ZUMA’S FATE?

The African National Congress (ANC) says its highest decision-making body will be tasked with deciding what should happen to President Zuma in the light of Friday’s Constitutional Court judgment.

Once Parliament has developed rules to give effect to Section 89 of the Constitution, it will have to use its mechanisms to hold President Zuma to account.

This could have implications for the president as the ANC in Parliament may vote in support of impeachment.

But they will have to get the cue from the party’s newly-elected national executive committee, which is stacked by both supporters of the president and those critical of him.

The NEC meeting scheduled for 10 January will be used to discuss the judgment and its full implications as the party will be preparing to hold its birthday celebrations.

Meanwhile, political analyst Shadrack Gutto says the National Assembly must act swiftly.

Gutto says all eyes are now on Parliament.

“Any institution that performs the constitutional functional obligation ought to do so timeously and diligently, therefore that’s the measure which we’re going to see how Parliament does its constitutional obligation.”

“DEMOCRACY IN ACTION”

Opposition parties have called the ruling a victory, adding that the ANC will have to prove that it is indeed serious about eradicating corruption.

The EFF’s Godrich Gardee said: “The constitutional delinquent Mr Zuma… in no time denies will be brought before Parliament to be accountable because his own political party has failed to hold him accountable.”

The party's Mbuyiseni Ndlozi has described as “nonsense” Parliament’s reaction to the ruling.

Ndlozi says the EFF will ensure that Parliament implements that ruling.

“The first thing they say is that the court did not find anything wrong with Mbete’s actions.”

Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota says this is democracy in action.

“This something to celebrate because we’re a young democracy.”

Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane says this is not about Zuma but the capture of Parliament.

“As the Speaker then failed to impeach [Zuma] and the whole ANC coming together to create rules that protect their president. The process around impeachment really needed to be given clarity.”

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