Impeachment not a simple process…

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Impeachment not a simple process…

Although EFF leader Julius Malema said that if the Constitutional Court declared President Jacob Zuma had breached his constitutional duty, the party would seek an impeachment in Parliament, such a sanction has not been applied before in SA and is unlikely to be a simple process. So says a Business Day commentary, which notes section 89 of the Constitution provides for the removal of a President with a two-thirds majority vote in Parliament on three possible grounds: a serious violation of the Constitution or the law; serious misconduct; or inability to perform functions of the office. The mechanism is different in section 102 of the Constitution, which allows for a motion of no confidence in the President and if it is passed by a majority in Parliament, the President must resign, along with his Cabinet. Section 102 does not require any misconduct or incapacity. It is viewed more as a mechanism for the majority party to recall its President if it has lost confidence in him. The Constitution requires that the breach must be ‘serious’ – a recognition that some breaches are not serious. The report notes Presidents have in the past been found by the courts to have breached the Constitution. For instance, the appointment of Menzi Simelane as National Director of Public Prosecutions was found in court to have been unconstitutional. The question then becomes what kind of breach warrants impeachment. And given the ANC’s parliamentary majority, the EFF is likely to have a tough time pushing it through.

Full Business Day report

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