Speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete. Picture: Henk Kruger/ANA

Johannesburg - The Constitutional Court has ordered Baleka Mbete, the Speaker of the National Assembly, to set up rules to impeach President Jacob Zuma following its decision that he had “failed to uphold, defend and respect the Constitution” of the country.

This was the majority ruling read out by Judge Chris Jafta following an application by the EFF, UDM, Cope and DA in September last year.

Early on Friday morning, Judge Jafta’s ruling confirmed an opposition motion that Mbete had failed to implement the decision of the ConCourt in which they found that Zuma had violated his oath of office by ignoring the remedial action by the former Public Prosecutor Advocate Thuli Madonsela on the upgrades at his Nkandla home.

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The initial scathing ruling against Zuma was made on March 31, 2016. The court dismissed Mbete’s version that Parliament had complied with the court order through allowing opposition parties to question Zuma about his role in the Nkandla. She also argued that they upheld the ConCourt ruling through allowing motion of no confidence to be debated and voted on in parliament.

But the majority judges had none of it.

According to Judge Jafta, question and answers as well as motions of no confidence did not meet the requirement of Section 89 of the Constitution - which deals with the removal from office of a President who has been found to have committed a serious violation of the constitution or the law, or be guilty of serious misconduct.

Detailing the court orders, Judge Jafta said “the failure of the National Assembly to make rules regulating the removal of a President in terms of section 89(1) of the Constitution constitutes a violation of Section 89 and is invalid.

He said Mbete and Parliament must comply with constitutional regulation section 237 and make rules to allow for the impeachment of Zuma “without delay.

“The failure by the National Assembly to determine whether the President has breached section 89(1)(a) or (b) of the Constitution is inconsistent with this section and section 42(3) of the Constitution,” Judge Jafta said. While this was a majority judgment, the Concourt Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng and his deputy Raymond Zondo disagreed. In Chief Justice Mogoeng’s view, the majority ruling amounted to judicial overreach.

Mbete and Zuma were ordered to pay costs of the application. EFF secretary-general Godrich Gardee said his party welcomes the court’s ruling and that the ANC had to implement the court order. Similar views were expressed by Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota.

Lekota said opposition parties had exposed Mbete and the ANC in their failed bids to protect Zuma.

Meanwhile, the ANC said it has noted the judgment.

ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte said her party would study the judgments and discuss its full implications when its National Executive Committee meets on January 10.

The Star