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Mbete didn't fail to carry out constitutional duties, ConCourt told

Baleka Mbete’s legal counsel has admitted that she could have done more to hold President Jacob Zuma accountable for his conduct in the Nkandla scandal.

FILE: National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Baleka Mbete’s legal counsel has admitted that she could have done more to hold President Jacob Zuma accountable for his conduct in the Nkandla scandal but emphasizes that she did not fail to carry out her constitutional obligations.

Opposition parties have argued that the Constitutional Court should compel the Speaker of the National Assembly to investigate President Zuma’s conduct and determine whether he’s guilty of an offence that would warrant his removal.

During eight hours in court on Tuesday, the Justices scrutinised the parties’ argument and the powers of the National Assembly.

Advocate Ngwako Maenetje has argued that Mbete did take action by facilitating motions of no confidence and several sessions in Parliament.

He’s highlighted that the Constitution doesn’t say if you don’t impeach the president, you’ve not taken any steps to hold him accountable. But at the same time, accepts that President Zuma seriously violated the Constitution.

“The court could expect that she should’ve done more… it’s a legitimate expectation. Similarly, the chief whips could’ve approached the Speaker… there could’ve been an engagement.”

Opposition parties say an inquiry is imperative to determine the facts and whether Zuma is guilty of misconduct before initiating impeachment processes.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has questioned the necessity of an investigation, saying that he doesn't want the court to take over the responsibility of the National Assembly.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)