South Africa 11.1.2018 06:26 am

Parly subcommittee could sink Zuma

Dogged by allegations of corruption and cronyism, Jacob Zuma is about to lose the leadership of South Africa's ruling ANC party, but he will remain president until 2019

Dogged by allegations of corruption and cronyism, Jacob Zuma is about to lose the leadership of South Africa's ruling ANC party, but he will remain president until 2019

But this depends on the ‘instructions the ANC in Parliament receives from Luthuli House’.

Parliament’s subcommittee discussing the formulation of rules to regulate the removal of the president holds a significant amount of weight on the future of Jacob Zuma.

But this depends on the “instructions the ANC in Parliament receives from Luthuli House”.

“I think it holds significant weight in the sense that they are engaging with that issue, and they are formulating rules,” said Wits School of Governance Professor Susan Booysen.

“We do not know how the ANC is going to come out there. But we do know that those committees take their lead from the top ANC structures. “The weight that the committee carries will be leveraged by guidance … if not instructions from Luthuli House. “And I think I see power shifting in the ANC,” she predicted.

“We all seem to think we know where it might be going but that committee might be treading water. “If they are bolstered by Luthuli House, they have got incredible significance and weight. But if the ANC does not take their lead in removing President Zuma from power then their parliamentary committees are not going to follow.”

Subcommittee chairperson Richard Mdakane said although the process had been the subject of a recent Constitutional Court judgment, it had for some time “been in the process of amending the rules of the National Assembly”.

Mdakane said although the Constitution provides for the removal of a sitting president, it does not set out the procedures of how that should be done and the Constitutional Court has tasked Parliament to, “without delay”, craft the rules of how such removal should occur.

“The common thread in the subcommittee meeting was for the term ‘serious offence’ as prescribed by Section 89 of the Constitution to be defined in the new rules of the Assembly as it could mean different things to different people,” Parliament said in a statement.

“The subcommittee also spent some time debating the format that the body should take that recommends impeachment procedures.”

It further resolved for a proposal to be drafted on the possible way forward on the mechanism for impeachment. Speculation that Zuma’s exit was on the agenda during the ANC’s NEC meeting was shot down by secretary-general Ace Magashule yesterday. Magashule said the only topics for discussion related to the ANC’s 106th birthday.

By all logic, Zuma should be removed by the end of this week “or there should at least be a message to the public” in this regard, Booysen said.

Zuma’s fate in the balance

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