Indonesia not meddling in SA's affairs - consulate

2016-08-30 20:23

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Cape Town - The Indonesian consulate in South Africa on Tuesday said a visiting MP was misinterpreted when he asked Parliament's Constitutional Committee if the country's president can be removed from office.

News24 reported last week that MPs visiting from Indonesia sat in on the committee's meeting on Friday to observe its processes.

On the agenda was the adoption of the 2013 legacy submission minutes - a summary of the committee's decisions on amendment suggestions made by the public in that year to the Constitution.

Before that, the Indonesian delegation quizzed the committee on various topics, and the very first question discussed made reference to the Constitutional Court's ruling that President Jacob Zuma pay back a portion of the money spent on upgrading his Nkandla homestead.

Speaking through an interpreter, one visiting MP wanted to know what the provisions were in South Africa's constitution for removing a sitting president.

ACDP MP Steve Swart answered on behalf of the committee following a brief silence, and explained the procedure according to the Constitution.

'Merely an exchange of ideas'

The Indonesian Consulate told News24 on Tuesday that the question was only an exchange of ideas, and was not referring to Zuma, who is the current president of the country.

"The question was merely an exercise of exchange of ideas in matters of constitutional law,” spokesperson John Purba said.

“The question does not have any other connotation, and it did not refer to anyone in particular, as was inaccurately depicted by News24.

"Indonesia respects the sovereignty of any nation and will never meddle in its domestic affairs."

The report did not reflect the position of the Indonesian MP and the Indonesia government, the consulate added.

How can a president be removed from office?

The Constitution of South Africa says that in order for the President to be removed from office, Parliament will need a supporting vote of two-thirds (66.67%) in the National Assembly.

Chapter 5, section 89 of the Constitutions says the reasons for a removal must either be:

1. A serious violation of the Constitution or law;
2. Serious misconduct;
3. Inability to perform functions of office.

"There is also a motion of no confidence," Swart explained to the visiting MPs on Friday. "It requires a 50% + 1 pass in the National Assembly.

"The president has to resign then if that motion is passed," he added.

In April, an "impeachment" motion against Zuma failed in the National Assembly following the Constitutional Court's ruling that he violated his oath of office, News24 reported.

In March, a motion of no confidence also failed in the National Assembly.

The ANC currently holds a 62% majority in the National Assembly.

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  indonesia  |  cape town  |  nkandla upgrade  |  parliament 2016

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