ANC parliamentary caucus to respond on ‘impeachment motion’
The ruling party’s caucus in Parliament will hold a press conference at noon on Wednesday on the “decision of the National Assembly…in relation to the proposed ‘impeachment motion’ ”.
The African National Congress (ANC) on Tuesday used its majority in Parliament to prevent President Jacob Zuma being removed from office. The National Assembly‚ where the ANC has a 62% majority‚ rejected the motion by 243 votes to 143. There are 400 members of the national assembly in total.
A statement issued by the office of the ANC chief whip said Wednesday’s press briefing will also be about the Constitutional Court judgment‚ which found that Zuma and Parliament had acted in a manner inconsistent with the Constitution.
Last week‚ the chief whip’s office said it “welcomes and accepts (the) judgment of the Constitutional Court in relation to the Nkandla matter”.
While it claimed to have “always maintained that we will abide by the judgment and ensure its implementation as a sound and authoritative constitutional guide”‚ at the time it said the ruling “is comprehensive…and thus requires a careful study for the purpose of issuing a detailed response”.
The ANC media briefing will come three hours ahead that of an alliance of civil society‚ church‚ trade union and academic organisations which is to announce a plan for “the people…to reclaim our hard-won democracy from those who defile it for self-interest”.
They met on Tuesday night “in the wake of another vote in Parliament which‚ by voting against impeaching the president‚ dishonoured our Constitution and disappointed millions of people”.
At Tuesday night's meeting were “representatives of the Anglican Church of SA‚ the Evangelical Alliance‚ the SA Christian Leadership Initiative‚ the United Front‚ trade unions‚ the artists’ coalition and civil society organisations including Corruption Watch and the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC)”.
They are to hold a “high-level civil society press conference…on the steps of the Constitutional Court on Wednesday”‚ a joint statement said.
Tuesday’s vote “means our country will continue to lurch from crisis to crisis‚” it said.
“Clearly the National Assembly has yet to understand the Constitutional Court’s pronouncements on the separation of powers and its primary duty to defend and advance the Constitution.
“People are feeling pain. Anger and urgency is growing. Ever larger numbers of people and organisations join the clamour to insist that Jacob Zuma resign or be removed by the ANC.
“Political parties have failed. Persuasion and appeal has failed. The courts have spoken. Now the people will have to reclaim our hard won democracy from those who defile it for self-interest.”
It is yet to be seen if the alliance will join a defiance campaign to be initiated by opposition parties‚ which was hinted at in Parliament on Tuesday.
These included marches and court action being used to force the ANC to recall Zuma from office.
During the debate‚ United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa said those who opposed Zuma's continued leadership must meet and defend the constitution.
Holomisa said South Africans should unite and demand that Zuma leave office‚ failing which there should be fresh elections.
The UDM leader made a clear call that parliament must be dissolved.
He was supported by other opposition leaders‚ who said they would join any action that would see Zuma removed from office.
Holomisa said people should urgently prepare for action.
Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema told ANC MPs soon after the impeachment motion brought by the DA was defeated that the ruling party had violated its constitutional mandate.
"You must be ready for what is coming‚" he said.
Outside Parliament on Tuesday night‚ leaders of the opposition stood together and said they would challenge the ANC and parliament to fulfil its obligation to protect the constitution.
They also called for South Africans to come together to protest against Zuma.
"We have felt that collectively we will be going out to engage South Africans from all walks of life‚ whether church leaders‚ whether they are people of civil society‚ to say let us get together and make it quite clear that we can't accept the actions that are being taken by Jacob Zuma and the parliament of the republic‚" said DA leader Mmusi Maimane‚ who was flanked by Malema‚ Mosiuoa Lekota and other opposition leaders.
Maimane called for a disciplinary process against Zuma.
Also on Tuesday ‚ former finance minister Trevor Manuel joined other ANC stalwarts - Mathews Phosa and Ahmed Kathrada and some military veterans - in calling for Zuma to resign. - TMG Digital/The Times