EFF will face an uphill battle in ConCourt - legal expert

2017-02-14 19:11
EFF media briefing (Tshidi Madia, News24)

EFF media briefing (Tshidi Madia, News24)

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Johannesburg – The EFF will face an uphill battle in asking the Constitutional Court to force Parliament to discipline President Jacob Zuma, a constitutional law expert says.
Phephalaphi Dube, director at The Centre for Constitutional Rights, said the EFF’s chances in court would be slim because of the doctrine of separation of power, which gives specific powers to the different spheres of government.

EFF leader Julius Malema announced on Tuesday that the party wanted the highest court in the land to compel Parliament to institute an impeachment or disciplinary action against Zuma over the Nkandla saga.

Zuma was found to have failed to uphold, protect and defend the Constitution in his refusal to comply with the former Public Protector’s findings that he had to pay back a portion of tax payers’ money for the non-security upgrades at his private home.

"We want the courts to compel Baleka [Mbete] to institute impeachment or disciplinary action against Zuma," said Malema.

Dube said: "So this means that the courts may tell Parliament what to do - but will not tell Parliament how to do its job. As such, the EFF request appears to infringe on the legislature’s area of governance."

She said that the legislature already provided two mechanisms through which the president can be held accountable by the National Assembly.

This includes the removal of the president on grounds that he is found guilty of violating the Constitution, or through motions of no confidence in Parliament.

'Sorry, we can’t do that'

Opposition parties in Parliament have, on more than one occasion, tried to bring about a motion of no confidence against Zuma, but have been unsuccessful.

Malema said his party would no longer participate in activities where the president addressed Parliament.

"Listening to him and affording him that status of standing ovations and praises, sorry, we can’t do that," he said.

When asked if Parliament should dissolve, the leader of the red berets said it should if it fails to institute disciplinary action against the president.

"Then we must go to an early election, because it means this Parliament has failed itself," said Malema. He said that Parliament had also been found wanting by the Constitutional Court over its handling of the Nkandla matter.

"In the same way, it was found to have failed to hold Zuma accountable when he defied the Public Protector’s remedial action. How do you hold others accountable, when you yourself aren’t in compliance with the Constitution," asked Malema.

Read more on:    eff  |  julius malema  |  politics  |  parliament

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