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Read Mmusi Maimane's full speech calling for the impeachment of President Jacob Zuma

Mmusi Maimane | 2016-04-05 17:00:20.0
Leader of the oppostion party Democratic Alliance (DA) Mmusi Maimane speaks during a debate over the removal of the president in parliament Cape Town, South Africa, 05 April 2016. Opposition parties debated the impeachment of president Jacob Zuma in terms of section 89(1)(a) of the constitution. South Africa's Constitutional Court found President Jacob Zuma guilty of spending state money to upgrade his private residence.
Image by: EPA/NIC BOTHMA

This speech was delivered today in Parliament by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane MP, during the motion of impeachment debate.

Honourable Members,

When we were elected to Parliament, we swore an oath to uphold the Constitution.

And the Constitution says that when a President violates the Constitution, he can be removed by this Parliament.

It was therefore our duty to table this motion and have it debated today. We believe in the rule of law, and we will do what is right by the law.

Of course, we know that our counterparts on the ANC benches do not share our respect for the rule of law.

Indeed, in his judgment last week, the Chief Justice was scathing about the conduct of the ANC’s parliamentary caucus and Presiding Officers.

So we are under no illusions as to which way the vote will go this afternoon.

We know that the ANC will fall in line behind President Zuma, but it is not our job to worry about the internal politics of the ANC.

Our job is to uphold the Constitution, to expose the truth, and to offer a clear way forward for the country.

And that is what we intend to do today. So let me start with the events of last Thursday at the Constitutional Court.

The judgment handed down by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng should have been enough to secure President Zuma’s fate.

When the highest court in the land ruled that the man occupying the highest office violated the Constitution, it should have been the end of President Zuma.

Because the Constitutional Court judgment removes any doubt that the President has forsaken his oath of office.

On Friday evening, the 1st of April, South Africans across the land dismissed President Zuma’s hollow apology with contempt. Today, the anger in our country remains palpable.

The people of this country don’t like being taken for fools. And that is what President Zuma and Gwede Mantashe did on Friday night.

They told us that all the years of lies and evasion were just a misunderstanding.

They said that the President was badly advised.

They said that he was always going to comply with the Public Protector’s report.

Basically, they said, it’s no big deal.

Well, we are here on behalf of every South African to say that it is a big deal.

It is a big deal when your President spends R246 million of public money on his private house.

It is a big deal when, first he denies that it was public money, and then says it is for security upgrades only.

It is a big deal when he says in this Parliament that he has no intention of paying back anything.

It is a big deal when he says he paid for it with a bond.

It is a big deal when he deploys his lackey ministers to make up lame excuses like ‘fire-pools’.

It is a big deal when he uses his caucus in this parliament to defend him with unconstitutional ad hoc reports.

And so today is an historic day.

Today is historic because it will show the people of South Africa the true character of the people they voted for.

Today it will be recorded that ANC Members of this Parliament chose to defend a crooked, broken

President instead of the Constitution and the rule of law.

Today will signal – once and for all – that the ANC has lost its way, and that there is no way back.

You see, corruption in the ANC is not limited to one part of the organisation, or to one person.

Corruption has infected the entire party like a cancer.

And while our attention today is focused on a large and malignant tumour, we know that – under the surface – the disease has replicated itself in every cell.

Madam Speaker, the ANC’s vital signs are not looking good.

Former President Kgalema Motlanthe correctly diagnosed the disease when he said [and I quote]:

This rot is across the board. It’s not confined to any level or any area of the country. Almost every project is conceived because it offers opportunities for certain people to make money. A great deal of the ANC’s problems are occasioned by this. There are people who want to take it over so they can arrange for the appointment of those who will allow them possibilities for future accumulation.”

Just last week, the Minister of Social Development and President of the ANC’s Women’s League, Bathabile Dlamini, confirmed that corruption had infected the entire ANC leadership.

She said:

All of us in the ANC’s National Executive Committee have our small skeletons and we don’t want to take all skeletons out because hell will break loose.”

In other words, according to Minister Dlamini, all of the current ANC leaders are corrupt. Some are just more corrupt than others.

Madam Speaker, nobody in the ANC is immune from the cancer of corruption.

Today, when ANC MPs defend President Zuma and his corrupt acts, they will show that they are complicit in the spread of the disease.

Because, in rallying behind President Zuma, ANC MPs will confirm what we already know: Jacob Zuma is not the cause of the disease, he is merely its biggest symptom.

And even once this tumour is removed, another one will pop up. And the disease will spread until every last cell is corrupted.

Madam Speaker, this is not the ANC that produced leaders like Albert Luthuli, Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu, Nelson Mandela and Ahmed Kathrada. The ANC has been reduced to what Thabo Mbeki called an “an ignoble, blood-sucking and corrupt parasite.”

Let me conclude by addressing our honourable colleagues on the opposite side of the House.

Later today, when the votes are counted, you will claim it as a ‘victory’. But deep down you all know that, on this occasion, even when you win, you lose. A pyrrhic victory if ever there was one.

Every South African will see you once again rescuing what the Honourable Chief Justice called “the ugly head of impunity” from the chopping block.

So, ANC MPs, ask yourselves today: how many more false ‘victories’ can you sustain?

Because, make no mistake, with every court judgment, and every parliamentary motion like this one, you suffer heavy casualties.

Next time you are in your constituencies, look around. People are angry. They are mobilising against the ANC like never before.

This weekend, the public has a chance to register to vote against Jacob Zuma and his defenders here. And believe me, they will.

You see, every time you defend your President, you send out a signal that the ANC is rotten to the core.

So, go ahead. Vote to protect President Zuma today. And watch how, in this local election, the people of this country use their vote to punish you for what the ANC has become.

South Africans know that our nation can be so much better than this.

We can have a government that respects the law, takes its oath of office seriously, defends the Constitution, and serves the people.

We can have a government that respects the people’s power to elect it, and remove it.

We can have a party in government that believes that, when a President breaks the law, he is no longer fit to be President.

And with this government comes a commitment to creating jobs, to cutting corruption and to delivering basic services for all.

This year – whether it is in Nelson Mandela Bay, or Tshwane, or Johannesburg – voters have a chance to make a change. And many, many voters will do so.

Today, the ANC has chosen Jacob Zuma. It is now up to the voters of South Africa to make a different choice.

I thank you.

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