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Opposition parties plot a way forward after failing to unseat Zuma

The DA’s motion to impeach Zuma was defeated by the ANC’s superior numbers in the National Assembly yesterday.

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MPs in Parliament during impeachment debate against President Jacob Zuma. Picture: Screengrab.

CAPE TOWN - Opposition party leaders say they will seek other ways to have President Jacob Zuma 'disciplined' for his handling of the Nkandla saga, after failing to unseat him in Parliament.

This could include approaching the Constitutional Court for guidance on how parliamentarians can take action against the president if the African National Congress (ANC) uses its majority to shield him.

The Democratic Alliance (DA)'s motion to impeach Zuma was defeated by the ANC's superior numbers in the National Assembly yesterday.

A total of 143 Members of Parliament (MPs) voted in favour of the motion, while 233 voted against the president's removal from office for failing to uphold, defend and respect the Constitution.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane says opposition party leaders will write to National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete, asking that Zuma be subjected to a disciplinary process.

"He's gone here in Parliament and lied to the people of South Africa."

Congress of the People (Cope) leader Mosiuoa Lekota says there's also the possibility of approaching the Constitutional Court for direction.

"Either by declaring that there's a lacuna in the Constitution, or by providing an interpretation of Section 89."

But ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu says the president has shown remorse for his handling of the Nkandla debacle.

"I'm also Christian, I believe it when somebody says 'I'm sorry'. I believe in forgiveness."

He says Parliament will ensure the president repays a portion of the money spent on upgrading his Nkandla home, in line with the Constitutional Court's judgment.

WATCH: Chaos as Zuma impeachment debate begins

'CAT FIGHTS' & INSULTS

Mthembu says Parliamentarians should focus on doing their jobs rather than have 'cat fights' and hurl insults.

ANC and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MPs nearly came to blows on the sidelines of yesterday's heated debate.

Sparks flew when an EFF MP accused International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane of sleeping on duty in the National Assembly yesterday.

When Nkoana-Mashabane fired back, other MPs joined the fray.

It's not uncommon to see MPs on opposing sides taunt each other during debates in the house.

But following angry exchanges yesterday, several EFF and ANC MPs were seen leaving the chamber apparently intent on settling the matter outside.

EFF MP Hlengiwe Hlophe said, "Back and forth, back and forth until they said come out let us beat each other but it didn't happen."

Mthembu is responsible for ensuring his party's MPs behave.

"The deputy chief reported to me that there was no scuffle. But of course we'll be worried about the heated and relations that exist in Parliament."

He says MPs must focus on their mandate, not fights.

WATCH: Maimane: Nkandla is a big deal

'ANC MPS WERE RIGHT TO PROTECT ZUMA'

Meanwhile, Congress of South African Trade Union (Cosatu) says ANC MPs were right to protect the president yesterday, because they were defending the revolution.

But the federation has hit out at the Gupta family, saying Zuma must publicly distance himself from them.

Cosatu's Sizwe Pamla said, "What they've done so far points to the fact that they use his relationship with them and his family to really bully the ANC and capture the state."

At the same time, as the Presidency says the Constitutional Court did not make a finding that Zuma has broken his oath of office, legal academics say, that's just playing with words.

Yesterday, the Presidency said media organisations should not say the court had made a declaratory order that the president has broken his oath.

Two years ago Zuma took this oath:

"I, Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma, swear that I'll be faithful to the Republic of South Africa and will obey, observe, uphold maintain the Constitution."

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