No amount of champagne, cakes or booze-fuelled parties can mask the reality of the what the ANC has become.
Afternoon clouds. Mild.
Former president Jacob Zuma.
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presidency of Jacob Zuma alerted us to dangerous holes in our constitutional
democracy. But there seems to be no comprehensive effort to prevent a
governing party nor the opposition parties have proposed innovative measures to
make sure that the person who holds the executive authority of the republic is
fit and proper.
resignation of Zuma from the highest office provided a conducive environment
for a nonpartisan discussion on how best to mitigate against the rise of
destructive figures in future. Failure to have this discussion makes Zuma's
removal from office look like it was just a small matter of internal ANC palace
be. Zuma was president of the republic as a whole. His removal has to be fully
explained even though he was forced to quit through the internal recall
mechanisms of the party.
explanation must include the fact that he should never have been president in
the first place. But it shouldn't come across as if he is being personally
targeted. It should be the beginning of setting out minimum qualifications for
Constitution demands too much from the holder of the office and gives him or
her too much power. Yet, it doesn't say what kind of person will be able to fulfil
the task and is thus eligible to be nominated by the National Assembly to
contest for election.
has done now was simply to implement the instruction from the Constitutional
Court to develop a procedure that would regulate the impeachment of a president.
The Constitution provides for the removal of the president from office through a
vote of no confidence as well as through impeachment (although it doesn't
overtly use this term).
vote of no confidence is a straight forward issue of numbers and does not
require any investigation into the president's conduct, there is no processes
to give effect to Section 89 of the Constitution, which envisages an
impeachment process due to constitutional violations.
Rules Committee has unanimously adopted the rules to guide an impeachment
process that includes an investigation into the president's conduct. The
National Assembly will soon adopt them.
doesn't solve the problem. It's a reactive solution. The real proactive
solution lies in amending the Constitution and developing further rules to set
minimum qualifications and standards for the job of the president.
serve our constitutional democracy well that members of Parliament and members
of Cabinet, including the president, have the same bare minimum requirements
for jobs that give them vastly different powers.
We need different
levels of qualifications. (By qualifications I don't mean narrowly academic,
but broader testable competencies and ethical compliance tailor-made for
political office bearers, not bureaucrats.)
The lack of
differentiated minimum standards means, as things stand now, any Member of Parliament
(MP) qualifies to be president of the republic. Nothing in the Constitution
prevents Faith Muthambi, for example, from being president. Nor would anything
have prevented Mduduzi Manana while he was an MP.
almost predict a response to this effect: "That will never happen! Faith
Muthambi?" But, if it's not prevented by the law, what will prevent it
become clear that internal party political processes are insufficient to
guarantee a reasonably ethical and competent president. None of our political
parties have a criteria of leadership selection that includes ethical conduct,
tax compliance, a credit profile and basic understanding of the Constitution,
to name a few issued that I think should be in the criteria basket.
been subjected to basic checks based on this, the red lights would have been
triggered and a very loud alarm would have rung nonstop.
rules for impeachment of the president without setting out what kind of a
person should be president in the first place, would mean the National Assembly
prefers narrow compliance with the Constitutional Court's judgment.
It would also mean the National Assembly is prepared to elect an incompetent president
only to institute an inquiry against him or her soon after.
the Constitutional Court judgment suggested Parliament shouldn't be creative.
Indeed, the court made it clear that the National Assembly has a right to
develop its own mechanisms provided they are in line with the law and the
National Assembly is waiting for the next leadership disaster to strike before
it reacts post facto. Such is the extent to which we are poorly represented.
And we blame the masses when they riot instead of reporting their grievances to
honourable members of Parliament.
- Mkhabela is a political analyst with the Department of Political Sciences at the University of South Africa.Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.
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