After first scuppering a debate, Speaker Baleka Mbete agreed to it last week. The DA brought the motion of impeachment on the grounds that President Jacob Zuma’s government had allowed Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to evade international and national court orders to arrest him while in South Africa.
DA chief whip John Steenhuisen contended the debate brought the country one step closer to holding Zuma accountable for violating the principle of the separation of powers and the constitution. He said Zuma had directly ignored a court order by aiding and abetting Bashir, a wanted human rights violator.
In order for a motion to be passed, the DA has argued that it would need only one third of the National Assembly’s support. This would mean the party, with 89 votes in the National Assembly, has to garner the support of 45 other opposition party members for the motion to be passed. If triumphant, an ad hoc committee might be convened to consider impeaching Zuma.
However, the ANC, with 249 of the total 400 seats, is likely to thwart any opposition attempts to censure Zuma. The ANC has charged that the ruling of the High Court, which found that the state had to comply with the International Criminal Court’s arrest warrant for Bashir, was under review and Zuma had never been implicated directly in any involvement in the matter.
The majority party has also dismissed the DA’s assertion that it only needs a one-third majority for a motion of impeachment to be passed.