Parly committee to consider draft rules to remove sitting president

On Thursday, the National Assembly’s full rules committee, where the ANC has a majority, will consider the make-up of the impeachment committee.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN – The National Assembly’s Rules Committee will on Thursday consider draft rules to give effect to the removal of a sitting president.

A sub-committee of MPs has been wrangling over the process, with a key issue being how to prevent the African National Congress (ANC) using its majority to block moves to impeach the president in the early stages.

Last week, the rules sub-committee broadly agreed on two options for the fact-finding inquiry that must come before any motion to impeach can be debated and voted on, but that’s now changed.

One option, from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), was for an impeachment panel of retired judges, the other for a hybrid committee of Members of Parliament and legal experts where each party would be represented equally, depriving the ANC of the weight of its proportional majority when it comes to making decisions.

ANC MP Juli Killian on Tuesday told the rules sub-committee that the party had reserved its rights on whether parties should be proportionally or equally represented, prompting a heated response from the DA’s Natasha Mazzone.

“This is a massive deviation from where we were last week, this takes us back to square one.”

Mazzone rejected Killian’s proposal that a panel of outsiders take the initial decision as to whether or not there were prima facie grounds to impeach the president.

She says she proposed the hybrid committee of MPs and legal experts, where every party was represented equally, in order to prevent the ANC from using its majority to block the process, and thought there was broad agreement on this.

On Thursday, the National Assembly’s full rules committee, where the ANC has a majority, will consider the make-up of the impeachment committee, including whether or not parties will have equal or proportional representation.