DA to ask MPs to vote directly for Zuma’s removal
Today’s impeachment motion marks a first in South Africa’s democratic history.
CAPE TOWN - Opposition party leaders are meeting this morning ahead of today's sitting of the National Assembly, when the Democratic Alliance's (DA) motion calling for the removal of President Jacob Zuma will be debated.
At the same time, African National Congress (ANC) Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe is set to address a special caucus meeting of the party's MPs.
The motion follows the Constitutional Court's unanimous finding last Thursday that Zuma breached the Constitution by failing to comply with the Public Protector's findings on the Nkandla spending scandal. WATCH: ConCourt's Nkandla ruling - What will Parliament do?
WATCH: ConCourt's Nkandla ruling - What will Parliament do?
It's not the first bid to have Zuma impeached, but previous attempts have called for a committee to be set up to investigate whether he should be removed from office.
Today's motion is different. It calls on MPs to vote for Zuma's removal directly, and thus marks a first in South Africa's democratic history.
ANC MPs are expected to close ranks and their superior numbers mean the opposition is unlikely to obtain the required two-thirds majority for the motion to succeed.
The motion was initially scheduled to take place at the end of today's session. It has now been shifted to the top of today's programme, a move all parties have agreed to. The sitting begins at 2pm.
ZUMA'S SUPPORTERS WARNED
The DA says ANC MPs who defend the president today do so at their own peril.
Parliament may remove the president for serious misconduct or a serious violation of the Constitution.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane says ANC members must decide between their oath of office and Zuma.
"Not only do we want it on record, but we also further wanted that each member who votes against the Constitution, must be guilty of violating the Constitution."
WATCH: Maimane: Zuma should pen his resignation letter
Constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos says if MPs fail to act against the president, they will be in breach of their constitutional obligation.
But he says there are other options to hold him accountable besides impeachment.
"But if they do nothing, they will again be in breach of their constitutional obligation to scrutinise the action of the president and to hold him accountable."