Opposition parties unite against Zuma in Parliament

2016-04-05 18:43
(Jenni Evans, News24)

(Jenni Evans, News24)

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Cape Town - Opposition parties put up a gallant fight in the National Assembly on Tuesday in a bid to have President Jacob Zuma removed from office.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane led the charge when he opened the debate, claiming corruption had infected the ruling ANC like a cancer.

"Today is historic because it will show the people of South Africa the true character of the people they voted for," he said.

"You see, corruption in the ANC is not limited to one part of the organisation, or to one person. Corruption has infected the entire party like a cancer."

The DA introduced the proposal that Zuma be removed in terms of Section 89 of the Constitution, a move that has been likened to the American process of impeachment.

Last week on Thursday, the Constitutional Court ruled that Zuma had failed to uphold the Constitution when he did not comply with Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's remedial action regarding payment for the upgrades to his Nkandla homestead.

'Hollow apology'

It ruled that the National Assembly also failed to uphold the Constitution when it set aside Madonsela's report.

Calls for Zuma to resign or be recalled have increased since the judgment.

However, Zuma went on live TV on Friday and apologised to the nation, saying he did not "knowingly or deliberately" violate the Constitution.

Maimane said this was a "hollow" apology and that anger in the country remained palpable.

"In rallying behind President Zuma, ANC MPs will confirm what we already know: Jacob Zuma is not the cause of the disease, he is merely its biggest symptom.

"And even once this tumour is removed, another one will pop up. And the disease will spread until every last cell is corrupted."

Deputy Justice Minister John Jeffery was the first to defend Zuma on behalf of the ANC.

He maintained that the Constitutional Court had not found that the president had violated his oath of office.

"It is the [DA], not the Constitutional Court that is saying that the president committed a serious violation of our Constitution,'' said the ANC MP to howls of disbelief from opposition benches.

"There is a difference, whether the DA likes it or not, between and inconsistency and a violation."

'No single individual has been held accountable'

EFF leader Julius Malema did not hold back and warned ANC MPs not make the same mistake by second guessing the Constitutional Court's judgment.

"You can't say a person has not breached his oath of office when the court said this person did not uphold and defend Constitution," Malema said.

He said the court was clear when it found that Zuma and the National Assembly had engaged in unlawful activity.

"No single individual has been held accountable since the court judgment."

Malema called on Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, his deputy Mcebisi Jonas and the SA Communist Party's Blade Nzimande and Jeremy Cronin to do the right thing and vote for Zuma to be removed.

"We want to see... if you going to vote for this corruption."

Congress of the People leader Mosiuoa Lekota, United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa, Inkatha Freedom Party MP Narend Singh and Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Mulder joined the DA and EFF in calling on ANC MPs to vote for Zuma to be removed.

Mulder read from the statement Zuma read when he announced former president Thabo Mbeki's recall.

"Speaker, what is the difference between this statement from Mr Zuma on Mbeki and the situation today?" asked Mulder.

"The difference is that Mbeki's mistakes were ten times less serious than the mistakes made by President Zuma."

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  eff  |  mmusi maimane  |  jacob zuma  |  julius malema  |  cape town  |  politics  |  parliament 2016

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