Those who voted for Zuma are 'not sycophants' - Mthembu

2016-04-06 16:26
Jackson Mthembu (Susan Cilliers, Netwerk24)

Jackson Mthembu (Susan Cilliers, Netwerk24)

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Cape Town – If the Constitutional Court had questioned President Jacob Zuma’s fitness to hold office, the entire matter would have been handled differently, ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu has said.

Addressing media on Wednesday in Parliament, the newly appointed chief whip said the court in its recent judgment against Zuma had not directed the country to Section 89 of the Constitution, which deals with the removal of a president.

"The court never... asked us to inquire on the... conduct of the president, into the suitability of the president to hold office. Had they done so, we can assure you, that in fact, the matter would not have come from to the assembly."

He said the court did not declare the president’s violation in terms of Section 89 of the Constitution, which compels Parliament to remove the president from office.

"As the ConCourt judges correctly emphasised, the president is a ‘constitutional being’, as he's created by the Constitution. This means any mistake he commits in the course of exercising the functions would be constitutional in nature.

"However, not all constitutional offences amount to dismissal, unless the Court specifically declares that the conduct directly relates to Section 89."

Mthembu said they had been called names, following the failure of a DA motion to have Zuma removed from office.

'We are not sycophants'

"Some have called us sycophants - people who do things without even reasoning. We were convinced and are still convinced that we voted correctly, that we couldn't have voted otherwise.

"We are not sycophants."

He said they had never found a party that had been galvanised by the opposition to vote its leader out of the presidential office.

He said the DA’s motion to remove Zuma, which was debated in Parliament on Tuesday, lacked foundation.

The motion was defeated when 233 MPs voted against it and 143 voted in favour of it.

The chief whip, together with deputy Doris Dlakude, called the Nkandla debacle a "learning curve".

"No one is escaping with murder here at all. As Parliament we could have dealt with this matter differently," Mthembu said.

He said the Nkandla judgment had made a clear separation between the executive, parliament and the judiciary.

Defending Zuma, Dlakude said the president had never said he would not pay back the money.

A determination of the amount needed to be made, she said.

"He always asked - how much?"

Mthembu called on parties to work together, and to argue with respect.

"Whatever we do in this Parliament, should be in respect of all those who sacrificed their lives to be here."

Read more on:    anc  |  jackson mthembu  |  jacob zuma  |  cape town  |  nkandla upgrade  |  parliament 2016

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