DA to initiate Zuma impeachment
Cape Town - Impeachment proceedings against President Jacob Zuma would be sought without delay, DA Parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said on Wednesday.
The report by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela on upgrades to President Jacob Zuma's homestead at Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal contained "damning findings", she told reporters in Cape Town.
"Given these damning findings, I will submit a formal request to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Max Sisulu, to recall the National Assembly as a matter of urgency to initiate impeachment proceedings against President Zuma... ."
Asked when the request would be sent to Sisulu, she responded: "By the close of business tomorrow, we will have submitted (it)."
The Democratic Alliance did not take such action lightly.
"Impeachment is a serious step and it is not a constitutional mechanism which should be used without good reason," Mazibuko said.
"However, executive misconduct of this magnitude is deserving of the most severe democratic sanction set out in our Constitution."
Her party colleague, MP Wilmot James, said Sisulu was duty-bound to act on the DA request.
"Either by initiating impeachment procedures, or by appointing an ad hoc committee to investigate the grounds that would justify doing the same thing. But he has to act. He's duty bound in terms of the Constitution to actually respond.
"There is a great moral clarity here. What we have is evidence of egregious executive misconduct, and so the... ethics of it is very, very clear."
The DA would make every effort to push the process through.
"The fact is that we as a party will make every effort to fight this, whatever it takes, at every level, at every stage of the process.
"To get an impeachment in Parliament requires a two-thirds majority. And if the ANC simply votes on the basis of party lines, we will not succeed. But this is a moral question, and we will call on everybody to vote on their conscience. And we will maximise support in the House," he said.
If he is removed as president, Zuma will lose all benefits of his office and will be unable to ever again hold any public office.
Mazibuko said it was simply a matter of whether Sisulu would act.
"It's simply a matter of whether the Speaker will act, as he's duty bound to do... I see no reason why we can't come back next week."
She anticipated what she called "interference" from the African National Congress caucus at Parliament.
"Where I do believe the interference will come from is the ANC caucus. 1/8This 3/8, although the Speaker is a member, will probably be driven by far more political interests."
However, with exactly seven weeks to go before the May 7 general election, and with Parliament still busy with business, there was plenty of time in which to consider the matter.
Asked what action she might take if Parliament did not act on the impeachment request, she said she was always ready to consider legal options.
"I'm always ready to consider our legal options if the ANC or any... of the presiding officers in Parliament were to try to avoid this issue, delay it, or prevent it coming before Parliament.
"I'm always ready to consider our legal options if we are stonewalled by the ANC."
Asked if she thought it might be necessary to postpone the May 7 elections, she replied: "I don't think there's any need. I think seven weeks is plenty of time in which to deal with this matter.
"The vast majority of investigative work has been done... Parliament has prima facie evidence... it can deal with this matter in seven weeks."
Earlier, Mazibuko said Madonsela's findings showed the extent to which Zuma had been "implicated for his role in the Nkandlagate scandal", and that his actions were "inconsistent" with the Constitution.
These included that he "materially and improperly benefited from the so-called security upgrades", and that he had "tacitly" accepted their implementation.
In her report on Wednesday, Madonsela found that Zuma had "unduly benefited from the enormous capital investment" in the Nkandla upgrades.
These had totalled R246 million.