Zuma unlikely to be impeached

2013-07-07 14:00

DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko wrote to Speaker Max Sisulu on Friday, asking him to ­investigate whether President Jacob Zuma had ­misled Parliament about his R206 million Nkandla development.

This comes after the Mail & Guardian published more documentation on Friday showing that Zuma was aware of the extent of the expenditure on his private compound.

The documents include:

» A letter from a police divisional commissioner stating that “by instruction of ... President Zuma, the existing house at Nkandla, currently accommodate (sic) SAPS members, must be converted as part of the president’s household”;

» A Public Works memorandum that states a deadline was given by “the principal” – government speak for the president; and

» Another memorandum on a meeting with former deputy minister Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, in which she confirmed Zuma did not want other contractors on site.

“This evidence shows that President Zuma ­omitted important information when questioned in Parliament regarding this upgrade,” Mazibuko said.

If Zuma were an MP and a charge were to be laid against him for misleading Parliament, it would have been handled in terms of the Powers and ­Privileges of Parliament Act.

However, in terms of the Constitution, Zuma ceased to be an MP the moment he was elected president.

Although Zuma is treated as being subject to ­parliamentary rules whenever he addresses Parliament or answers parliamentary questions, the act was not written with the head of state in mind.

Two alternatives exist if the opposition wants to bring the president to book.

The first is a motion of no confidence, which is followed by a debate and a vote. The ANC can defeat the no confidence vote by a simple majority.

The opposition is unlikely to favour that option either after the ANC last year used its majority to block a proposed no confidence debate.

The other option is the one Mazibuko is currently pursuing, which is an effort to impeach Zuma for serious misconduct, in terms of section 89 of the Constitution.

For Zuma to be impeached, a thorough ­parliamentary investigation needs to be conducted. If two-thirds of the National Assembly agree that Zuma is guilty of serious misconduct, he will be ­removed as president.

Given the ANC’s majority in the National ­Assembly, the opposition’s efforts are unlikely to ­succeed.

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