South African parliament to consider Zuma impeachment

South African parliament will discuss opposition motion to impeach President Jacob Zuma

Photo by: AP (Archive )
Photo by: AP (Archive )

South African President Jacob Zuma gives his state of the nation address in Cape Town, South Africa, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016.

South Africa’s National Assembly will debate a motion to impeach under-pressure president, Jacob Zuma, on Tuesday.

Parliamentary speaker Baleka Mbete confirmed the motion in a media briefing in Cape Town on Sunday.

The Constitutional Court said President Jacob Zuma failed to uphold, defend and respect the constitution when he ignored the instructions of an anti-graft watchdog to repay some of the $16 million spent on his private home.

The opposition has used the court ruling as a basis upon which to table their motion to impeach Zuma.

In a 2014 report, the watchdog, also known as the Public Protector, accused Zuma of misusing public money to upgrade his country home in Nkandla village of KwaZulu Natal province.

Security upgrades on Zuma’s home were supposed to have cost the state $2.5 million but other additions such as a cattle enclosure, swimming pool, amphitheatre and chicken run saw the cost skyrocket to $23 million.

A general view of South Africa President Jacob Zuma’s private Nkandla home. (AFP)

The watchdog ordered Zuma to repay some of the money but he was adamant he had done nothing wrong.

The National Assembly and police minister then instituted parallel investigations and absolved Zuma of any wrongdoing.

The Constitutional Court found the National Assembly had erred in absolving the president, saying it was only a court of law that could set aside the anti-corruption watchdog’s recommendations.

Since the historic ruling, the opposition and a few veterans of Zuma’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) have called for his resignation and that of the parliamentary speaker.

“I am not considering resigning,” National Assembly speaker Mbete told reporters on Sunday.

Zuma made a television apology to the nation on Friday saying he would abide by the court’s ruling and repay back some of the money.

“The matter has caused a lot of frustration and confusion, for which I apologise on my behalf and on behalf of government,” he said in a televised address and added, "I wish to emphasise that I never knowingly or deliberately set out to violate the constitution."

But the opposition says an apology is not enough.

Zuma, whose ruling ANC has a majority in parliament, has survived many previous votes of no confidence.

TRTWorld, AA