Parly to draft new rules on impeaching a sitting president
The National Assembly has 120 days from the date of the Constitutional Court’s December 29 ruling to put impeachment rules in place and 180 days from that date to launch proceedings for Zuma’s removal.
CAPE TOWN - While President Jacob Zuma might face renewed pressure to step aside as head of state when the African National Congress (ANC)’s newly elected national executive committee meets for the first time on Wednesday, in Parliament, political parties will be drawing up new rules to govern his removal by impeachment.
Section 89 of the Constitution allows for the removal of a sitting president on grounds of a serious violation of the Constitution or the law, serious misconduct or inability to perform the functions of office.
The Constitutional Court last month ordered the National Assembly to put in place rules to give effect to this provision, with a timeline.
The National Assembly has 120 days from the date of the Constitutional Court’s 29 December ruling to put impeachment rules in place and 180 days from that date to launch proceedings for Zuma’s removal.
Draft rules drawn up nearly two years ago, but never finalised, provide for a special committee to investigate and to allow for the President to have his say, before recommending any action to the House.
The Democratic Alliance (DA)’s John Steenhuisen says because Zuma’s already been found to have failed to uphold the Constitution there should be no need for any committee.
“We’ll be making some significant recommendations around a two-phase process, one that deals with where the Constitutional Court has found the president to have violated the oath of office or transgressed Section 89, and one where allegations are made by political parties.”
But the Freedom Front Plus’s Dr Corne Mulder says it is for Parliament and not the judiciary to make the call.
“It’s not an arbitrary judicial process as far as I am concerned. It’s a political process whether you’re going to impeach the president of the country or not.”