Jacob Zuma sacrifices our Constitution – Julius Malema

2014-09-28 06:00

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The Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF’s) founding manifesto and its constitution commits all members to seven non-negotiable cardinal pillars.

In the movement, the cardinal pillars are what is holding the organisation together, such that if one of those pillars is removed, the organisation will lose its integrity and become shapeless like all political parties existing in South Africa, with no clearly defined principles and values.

The EFF’s seven cardinal pillars are non-negotiable because we have seen how organisations lost track of the revolution because they were prepared to negotiate everything, including their names.

One of the seven cardinal pillars of the organisation is the struggle for an “open, accountable, corrupt-free government and society without fear of victimisation by state agencies”.

This is one of the most important pillars because we are aware that failure to hold any government accountable and corruption have the potential to inhibit society, destroy its values and deprive its citizens access to better services and, in some instances, cause wars which devastate society.

This is the reason why during this year’s elections, the EFF vigorously asked for votes on the basis that we will go to Parliament to stop the Nkandla corruption.

In almost all the major addresses we gave, on our posters, pamphlets, billboards and in the social media networks, the EFF made resounding and vivid commitment to fight the Nkandla corruption.

We are now in Parliament because we made commitment to the more than 1.1 million voters that we will fight corruption and hold government accountable.

EFF leader Julius Malema chants ‘pay back the money’ in Parliament

It is therefore on this basis that we were participating in the Parliamentary ad hoc committee to receive a report from President Jacob Zuma as directed by the Public Protector, who in her findings of the Nkandla corruption, directed that Zuma should pay a reasonable percentage of the money spent on non-security upgrades on his residence, and importantly, report to the National Assembly on his comments and actions of the report.

Now instead of reporting to Parliament on when we will expect the money to be paid, Zuma is refusing to do so and chooses to question the powers of the Public Protector, which are clearly stated in the Constitution to, among other things, take remedial action on cases where there have been administrative and legal transgressions.

Now, Zuma does not want to follow the constitutional directives of the Public Protector for political convenience.

The ANC Members of Parliament (MPs) have been turned into Nkandla Mass Choir, singing along with Zuma as he undermines the Constitution.

Throughout his first term, Zuma did not see anything wrong with the Public Protector’s remedial actions, particularly ones which he had to implement.

He fired Bheki Cele as national police commissioner, and fired Dina Pule as communications minister on the basis of the remedial actions prescribed by the Public Protector.

At no stage did Zuma and the mass choir question the remedial actions of the Public Protector, but now they sacrifice the Constitution on the altar of political convenience because Zuma does not want to be held accountable, and does not want to pay back the money spent on the non-security upgrades of his private residence.

Zuma says he is still consulting with the police minister, his junior employee who accounts to him in Cabinet as to whether he should pay the money.

He also says that he is awaiting the Parliamentary process, which is the ad hoc committee we withdrew from, before he could pay back the money.

President Jacob Zuma's estate in Nkandla. Picture: Khaya Ngwenya/City Press

When the ad hoc committee started, principles were established and agreed upon and amongst those principles was that the remedial actions prescribed by the Public Protector are not up for review, as only a court of law can review the findings and remedial actions of the Public Protector.

Upon instruction from the ANC head office, and in line with what Zuma had begun, ANC MPs in the ad hoc committee started to decapitate the Constitution and the powers of the Public Protector because it is convenient for them.

When this strategy to decapitate the Constitution started, some of us cautioned that once again the ANC wants to destroy an accountability and checks and balances institution in order to protect Zuma.

We cautioned because during our time in the ANC, we were sent to Parliament to destroy one of the most formidable crime busting and fighting units South Africa has ever had, the Directorate of Special Operations, popularly known as the Scorpions.

There was never a sound political and constitutional basis to dissolve the Scorpions, except that they had investigated and instituted a solid case against Zuma, which if it goes to court today, Zuma will be convicted and locked up for many years.

The Scorpions have been dissolved, and a toothless Hawks put in its place, and the reality is that corporate crime continues to happen in South Africa at extreme levels because there is no institution to combat it.

Those are some of the mistakes we committed while we were still in the ANC, and which we have asked for forgiveness on and are in the process of correcting through robust political engagements and programmes in and outside Parliament.

We have come of age now, and we will never agree to be part of a process that decapitates sections of the Constitution in order to protect one individual.

The challenge is that if we undermine the Constitution, we will reverse the gains of democracy, and society will degenerate into lawlessness, anarchy and chaos.

Who will agree to be held accountable if a President of the Republic refuses to work within the Constitution?

The Public Protector’s finding is that Zuma and his family unduly benefited from corruption and he should be held accountable.

Why is Zuma running away? Is this part of the protection promised by Gwede Mantashe after the recent ANC national executive committee meeting?

In the ad hoc committee, the ANC made it patently clear that:

a) Zuma will not appear before the committee to answer questions concerning his private residence and the fact that costs escalated to more than R240 million even when he was cautioned in between; and b) there is an intention to change the findings and remedial actions of the Public Protector and shift all blame to junior officials.

In summary, the ANC used its simple majority in the committee to undermine the Constitutional and legal remedial actions of the Public Protector, and we could not be part of that.

Well, there are opportunists in the ANC who want to reduce our principled action to a collusion with the Democratic Alliance and other opposition political parties against Zuma.

If the ANC comes to its senses before this process goes to a different level, the EFF will duly agree with such an approach.

Coming to their senses means that the ANC should accept that the remedial actions of the Public Protector can only be reviewed by a court of law, and until such is pursued, Zuma must pay back the money as directed by the Public Protector.

Coming to their senses will mean that the process the Special Investigating Unit is involved continues unabated.

»?Julius Malema is commander in chief of the EFF

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