There are plenty of grounds for impeachment

30 October 2017 - 07:36 By The Times Editorial
President Jacob Zuma.
President Jacob Zuma.
Image: Thuli Dlamini

The bee swarm is getting ever closer to the elephant in the room: President Jacob Zuma's fitness to hold office. Jacques Pauw's book The President's Keepers claims he received a salary of R1-million a month from a private company at the beginning of his presidency, asserts he has another unsavoury relationship with a rich businessman and accuses him of knowledge of, if not complicity in, the underworld cigarette trade.

The book's revelations are grounds for parliament to serve its purpose by voting on a motion of impeachment. To pass, two-thirds of MPs in the National Assembly need to believe that Zuma has committed "a serious violation of the law" or is "guilty of misconduct".

Can a majority of MPs be so removed from their constituencies they cannot feel their fear that the country is sinking? If the president is innocent, he needs to open himself to scrutiny, not hide behind smoke and mirrors.

We're staring at national debt equal to 60% of GDP and government expenditure of R1.9-trillion in 2020, says the finance minister.

On Wednesday the auditor-general will release the 2016-2017 government audit results, which will quantify the wastage that never seems to be reined in.

State-owned enterprises are a bottomless pit swallowing taxpayers' money and a real cost to the economy. Eskom wants a tariff hike of nearly 20% next year, but how much will go towards fixing the infrastructure that causes power outages?

South Africans are drowning in inefficiency. The Times reports today how only 8% of rape cases brought to court result in convictions and how our police failed to send evidence kits from more than half of reported child-rape cases to forensic laboratories.

Our rulers must remember their purpose. Justice is at the core of a harmonious society and it must be seen to be done in all spheres of government.