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Opposition MPs to again attempt move to unseat Zuma

President Jacob Zuma faces a fresh bid for his impeachment in the National Assembly this afternoon.

President Jacob Zuma during his visit at the drought hard-hit at uThungulu District Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal to monitor the delivery of water services and launch a drought relief programme in the area as part of the Government effort to support areas that had been affected by drought across the country. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) will attempt to use President Jacob Zuma's handling of the Nkandla spending debacle as a means to unseat him.

Zuma faces a fresh bid for his impeachment in the National Assembly this afternoon.

It comes just a few days after the highest court in the land found Zuma did not uphold, defend and respect the Constitution by failing to comply with Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's remedial action.

In 2014, Madonsela directed the president to pay back a portion of the taxpayers' money spent upgrading his private home in KwaZulu-Natal, on features including a swimming pool and cattle kraal.

Opposition party leaders intent on seeing Zuma punished for violating the Constitution, will meet today ahead of the impeachment debate.

Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane says African National Congress (ANC) MPs who defend Zuma are placing themselves in a tricky position.

"What I can't accept is that as Members of Parliament if you take your oath of office to say you'll defend the Constitution, can it be said that then you'll defend somebody who breaks the Constitution."

United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa says, "Perhaps if we have a secret ballot system we might see different results."

The opposition needs the support of two-thirds of MPs in the National Assembly to remove the president.

If removed for serious misconduct or a serious violation of the constitution, the president is stripped of all benefits attached to his office.

STRINGENT RULES

Meanwhile, Deputy National Assembly speaker Lechesa Tsenoli said the rules of Parliament don't allow MPs to vote through a secret ballot on issues like an impeachment vote against Zuma.

Opposition parties have asked Parliament's presiding officers to allow MPs to vote secretly, if a vote is held on whether Zuma should be impeached after the Constitutional Court's finding that he broke his oath of office over the Nkandla scandal.

Currently, MP's have to vote in the way they are instructed to by their political parties.

Tsenoli said it seems very unlikely that political parties will vote to change this system ahead of that impeachment vote.

"I have no clue in which way that would happen because so far, it would have had to be accepted in the House and the House not sat, so it is unlikely to come to that conclusion."

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete on Sunday confirmed the debate would be set down for tomorrow afternoon.

Calls for Zuma to step down have come from opposition parties, within the ANC and tripartite alliance itself.

With the president's removal set to be debated, Mbete is also facing calls for her to resign.

The DA's Chief Whip John Steenhuisen said, "We believe it's apposite that she steps down and makes way for new leadership able to re-establish Parliament's role as an executive oversight organ."

Mbete said she was not going anywhere.

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