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AS IT HAPPENED: 'National Assembly must fulfil obligations' in holding Zuma accountable - ConCourt

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The panel of judges presiding in Constitutional Court. (File, City Press)
The panel of judges presiding in Constitutional Court. (File, City Press)
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29 Dec 2017

OFFICIAL STATEMENT: ANC statement on ConCourt judgment 

The African National Congress has noted the judgment delivered by the Constitutional Court today, 29 December 2017, in relation to the matter brought by a number of opposition parties for Parliament to institute impeachment proceedings against the President of the Republic of South Africa, Comrade Jacob Zuma. 

The ANC will study the judgment and discuss its full implications when the National Executive Committee meets on the 10th January 2018. 

29 Dec 2017

Section 89 of the Constitution: 

89. Removal of President 

The National Assembly, by a resolution adopted with a supporting vote of at least two thirds of its members, may remove the President from office only on the grounds of 

a. A serious violation of the Constitution or the law; 

b. Serious misconduct; or 

c. Inability to perform the functions of office. 

Anyone who has been removed from the office of President in terms of subsection (1) (a) or (b) may not receive any benefits of that office, and may not serve in any public office.

29 Dec 2017

Section 237 of the Constitution states: "All constitutional obligations must be performed diligently and without delay". 

29 Dec 2017

The order, as read out by Jafta in ConCourt: 

1. This court has exclusive jurisdiction to hear the application. 

2. The failure by the National Assembly to make rules regulating removal of a president in terms of Section 89, Sub 1 of the Constitution, constitutes a violation of this section and is invalid.

3. The National Assembly must comply with Section 237 of the Constitution and make rules referred to in paragraph 2 without delay.

4. The failure by the National Assembly to determine whether the president has breached Section 89, Sub 1, (a) or (b) of the Constitution, is inconsistent with this section and Section 42(3) of the Constitution.

5. The National Assembly must comply with Section 237 of the Constitution and fulfil the obligation referred to in paragraph 4 without delay. 

6. The National Assembly and the president must pay costs of the application jointly and severally, including costs of two counsel, where applicable. 

29 Dec 2017

Important to note that Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng disagreed with the majority judgment, saying the ruling was judicial overreach and impacted on the "separation of powers". 

29 Dec 2017

Jafta reading the orders now saying the National Assembly failed to make rules to hold the president to account and must make those rules.

Jafta: "The National Assembly must fulfil obligations without delay." 

The National Assembly and the president must pay costs.

29 Dec 2017

Jafta: "It is constitutionally impermissible for a court to order Parliament to do what it is already doing in circumstances where it has not identified any deficiency with that Parliamentary process."

29 Dec 2017

Jafta: "Therefore we conclude that the Assembly did not hold the president to account," as per Section 89. 

"The Assembly has failed to fulfill two of its obligations." 

29 Dec 2017

Jafta: "It is not true that the National Assembly has done nothing," going through question and answer sessions and motions of no confidence. 

29 Dec 2017

Jafta says there is no clarity on what constitutes serious violation of Constitution as stated in Section 89 of the Constitution.  

29 Dec 2017

Jafta says the next question is whether the National Assembly failed to act against the president. He says the applicants argued that the Constitutional Court found the president had violated the Constitution. 

29 Dec 2017

UFS language policy is lawful, ConCourt rules 

The Constitutional Court has ruled in favour of the University of the Free State's (UFS) language policy.

The UFS adopted a new language policy in March 2016, which replaces Afrikaans and English as parallel mediums of instruction, and makes English the primary medium.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, in a majority ruling on Friday, denied AfriForum's application for leave to appeal a Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) ruling from March this year, also in favour of the policy.

Mogoeng said the policy was lawful. 

The SCA had upheld the university's appeal against a High Court order which said the policy decision was unlawful. 

READ MORE...

29 Dec 2017

Jafta says the respondents argued there were measures to hold the president to account, including question and answer sessions, and motions of no confidence. 

29 Dec 2017

Justice Jafta reading through the background of the case, touching on the rules of removing the president from office. Jafta says the applicants argued that the National Assembly failed to hold him to account. 

29 Dec 2017

Four judgments have been prepared in the matter relating to the Zuma impeachment case, but a majority judgment has been reached. Judgments being read out. 

29 Dec 2017

ConCourt moves on to the next matter. 

29 Dec 2017

Mogoeng concludes: "1. Leave to appeal is refused. 2. There will be no order as to costs. And I hand down this judgment." 

29 Dec 2017

ConCourt: The language policy at UFS is lawful and constitutional. 

29 Dec 2017

WATCH LIVE STREAM 

(via SABC)

29 Dec 2017

Chief Justice Mogoeng starts off with another matter, a judgment on Afrikaans as a medium of instruction, brought by Afriforum. Matter relates to the University of the Free State's language policy, but the decision will have a knock-on effect on other educational institutions.


29 Dec 2017

Court is in session. Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng starts proceedings.

29 Dec 2017

OPINION: Zuma exit needs to be prioritised 

(By Ralph Mathekga)

The new leadership of the ANC has to prioritise President Jacob Zuma's exit as the president of the country. Given the delicate power balance in the party as reflected in the composition of the newly elected National Executive Committee (NEC), it is important for all factions that are represented in the NEC to realise that it is in no one's interest - neither even those of his staunchest allies - for President Jacob Zuma to be allowed to continue as the president of the country.

It would be a travesty if Zuma were to deliver the 2018 State of the Nation address, and also be allowed to continue with the ill-fated court route to challenge Advocate Thuli Madonsela's recommendations on a state capture investigation.

Reports are coming out that meetings are planned to negotiate Zuma's exit. What makes the situation more urgent is that Zuma seems to be willing to go all the way in pushing back against the court's ruling that he should not be the one appointing the judge who is to chair the commission of inquiry into state capture. 


READ FULL COLUMN

29 Dec 2017

ConCourt expected to hand down judgment on Zuma impeachment case 

The Constitutional Court is expected to hand down judgment on Friday in the case brought by the EFF, UDM and COPE against the Speaker of the National Assembly to compel the House to carry out its constitutional functions and scrutinise President Jacob Zuma's conduct.

The application was argued in court in September after the opposition parties argued that the court should order Parliament to establish a fact-finding ad hoc committee that would force Zuma to answer questions about his conduct during the Nkandla scandal.

The opposition parties are seeking a declaratory order that the National Assembly's inaction in the face of Zuma's violations of the Constitution was unconstitutional. They also want an order which would compel Speaker Baleka Mbete to take the necessary and appropriate steps to determine the seriousness of the president's violations. 

READ MORE

29 Dec 2017

WATCH: EFF on Parliament's 'failure to hold the executive to account'

29 Dec 2017

ICYMI: 

Court reserves judgment in Zuma impeachment application 

After more than seven hours of arguments the Constitutional Court has reserved judgment in an application brought by the EFF and other opposition parties trying to have President Jacob Zuma impeached.

The opposition parties told the court that they wanted the establishment of a fact-finding ad hoc committee that would force Zuma to answer questions about his conduct during the Nkandla debacle.

The parties, which also included the UDM and Cope, strongly felt that no action had been taken against Zuma after the Constitutional Court ruling in March 2016 which found that Zuma had failed to uphold, defend and respect the Constitution. 

They said there was no doubt that there was prima facie evidence for impeachment proceedings to be instituted against Zuma.

However, Hamilton Maenetje, representing National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete, said the Speaker's office would be acting inconsistently were it to remove Zuma. 

READ MORE...
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