Zuma impeachment motion dropped

BY CHARL BOSCH - SEPTEMBER 2, 2015

The Democratic Alliance’s (DA) motion of impeachment against President Jacob Zuma over the controversy surrounding Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir, was struck off the roll in the National Assembly last night after MP’s voted against the establishing of an ad-hoc committee by 211 votes versus 100.

With the expectation of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) who chose to abstain from the final vote, the motion was supported by the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), National Freedom Party (NFP), Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) and the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) with objections coming from the ruling African National Congress (ANC), United Democratic Movement (UDM) and the African People’s Convention (APC).

In his opening address, DA leader Mmusi Maimane reiterated a previous statement by describing Zuma as a “broken man” who violated the constitution “by aiding and abetting the escape of an accused war criminal”.

“Nothing illustrates the ANC’s slide into the moral abyss under Jacob Zuma like this does. Gone is the party that once stood for constitutionalism and the rule of law. Gone is the selfless struggle of Nelson Mandela,” Maimane said.

“In its place is a shell that reverberates with empty rhetoric; a party hollowed out by President Zuma and the corrupt clique around him”.

He also stated that the damage caused by Zuma’s leadership was “now beyond repair” and that the letting go of al-Bashir two months ago, “trampled on the legacy” that Mandela stood for.

In a similar reaction, party Federal Chairperson James Selfe said Zuma went against his oath of office by letting al-Bashir leave the country, adding that cabinet “deliberately decided not to arrest him”.

“President Zuma knew that South Africa had acceded to the Rome Statute on the International Criminal Court. He also knew that President al-Bashir had been invited to, and proposed to attend, the African Union Summit in South Africa.

“The President [however] decided that the law did not apply to him and his government. Instead of arresting him, they assisted him to escape,” Selfe said.

In a rebuttal, ANC National Spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said the DA under Maimane had resorted “to gutter politics like the EFF” with the sole aim of capturing media attention, while Deputy Justice Minister John Jeffery, described Maimane as a “hallow man presiding over a hallow party with no knowledge about the constitution”.

“This motion and the establishment of an ad hoc committee is yet another DA-pipedream, another empty promise, another empty DA headline. There is not an iota of substance to it. [The DA] is all bright lights and hashtags devoid of substance,” Jeffery said to applause from the ruling party bench.

Earlier, proceedings threatened to boil over when EFF members objected to various motions read out by a number of parties, leading to DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen calling them the “nasty party” that shows nothing for human compassion.

The EFF’s objection was mostly drowned out by claps from other parties in support, with Secretary General Gordich Gardee stating that it was within their right to object. The party later indicated that while it supported the motion calling for Zuma’s removal, the using of al-Bashir’s departure as a catalyst was not in their interest.