Johannesburg - The DA has given the National Assembly notice of a motion of impeachment against President Jacob Zuma.
"The DA will move to have the motion debated in the House on August 18, whereupon a vote by a third of the House will be required to establish an ad hoc committee to investigate the impeachment charge," DA leader Mmusi Maimane said in a statement.
He said the party believed in the supremacy of the Constitution and respect for rule of law and claimed that the executive, under the leadership of Zuma, had contravened these when they did not arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in June.
"The events that led to the escape of Bashir represent a clear violation of the president's oath to 'obey, observe, uphold and maintain the Constitution and all other law of the Republic' and serve as nothing less than grounds for his removal from office in terms of section 89[a] of the Constitution.
"In blatant disregard of their legal obligations, however, Cabinet granted Bashir immunity while attending the summit of the African Union [AU] in June, and subsequently allowed him to escape the country. President Zuma, as the head of the Cabinet, bears ultimate responsibility for this decision," Maimane said.
The office of the ANC chief whip, however, said the proposed motion was a publicity stunt by the DA which was not worth any serious consideration.
"Section 89 of the Constitution states amongst others that the president may only be removed from office for a serious violation of the Constitution or the law," spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said in a statement.
"No court of law has ever found the president guilty of violation of the law or the Constitution. In the absence of any constitutional or legal basis, Mmusi Maimane’s motion amounts to political posturing and is not worth the paper it is written on," he said.
Government is appealing the High Court in Pretoria’s ruling, handed down on June 15, that it had to detain Bashir while he was still in South Africa for a two-day African Union summit, and that its failure to do so was unconstitutional.
Bashir left from Air Force Base Waterkloof on the morning the high court handed down its order for the government to arrest him.
He is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to stand trial on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes in Darfur.
South Africa is a signatory to the ICC’s Rome Statute, and by being so, had a duty to arrest Bashir and hand him over to the court.
Mothapo said the ANC supported government's decision to apply for leave to appeal with court's decision.
"As we have repeatedly stated, all heads of states and delegates that attended the African Union summit in Sandton were granted diplomatic immunity by the government in line with international standards and practices related to events such as the one held recently in our country.
"This diplomatic immunity was granted in terms of the laws of this country and this simply means that government was duty bound to ensure that President Bashir does enjoy the privileges of such immunity," he said.