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Mbete obligated to determine if Zuma lied about Nkandla, ConCourt hears

Opposition parties have agreed that President Jacob Zuma should be investigated for his conduct.

The Economic Freedom Fighters' bid to have President Jacob Zuma face impeachment proceedings in the National Assembly was heard at the Constitutional Court on 5 September 2017. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Opposition parties have argued that the Speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete has an obligation to determine whether President Jacob Zuma lied to Parliament about the Nkandla scandal, in a fact-finding exercise that will precede an impeachment process.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), United Democratic Movement, Congress of the People and the Democratic Alliance agreed that Zuma should be investigated for his conduct during eight hours of argument in the Constitutional Court on Tuesday.

While neither the Constitution nor the rules of Parliament make provision for an inquiry that the opposition parties are calling for, Advocate Dali Mpofu has argued that it is necessary in order to process with the impeachment process.

“To impeach on a basis of misconduct of doing something wrong, as unlike the motion of no confidence situation, you cannot escape the fact-finding state.”

The EFF’s Tembeka Ngcukaitobi says the Speaker has the mechanisms to do so.

“The Speaker herself has said that she has adequate mechanisms… she has simply allowed the president to go scot-free without accounting for a prima facie impeachable offence.”

However, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng says the parties have the benefit of the Public Protector’s report on Nkandla and the pronouncement of the court and questioned whether this is the purpose of such an investigation.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)