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DA threatening court action over blocked Zuma impeachment motion

By Charl Bosch - Aug 13, 2015
DA threatening court action over blocked Zuma impeachment motion

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has accused National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete of protecting President Jacob Zuma following her decision to block the party’s impeachment motion against him, regarding the controversial departure of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

Last week, DA leader Mmusi Maimaine said the executive, under Zuma’s leadership, had facilitated in helping al-Bashir out of the country despite being aware of genocide charges against him, and that the decision constituted a “blatant disregard of any legal obligations”.

al-Bashir, who had been attending the African Union Summit in Sandton on June 14th, departed the following day despite the Pretoria High Court submitting an interim order to prevent him from leaving, and face possible handover to the International Criminal Court (ICC) on the charges.

Addressing Parliament earlier today, Mbete stated that the matter was sub judice as government is appealing the June 24th ruling by High Court Judge President Dunstan Mlambo, which found that al-Bashir’s departure was in direct violation against the pending order, and that government failed to apprehend him despite promising on numerous occasions to do so.

“As a presiding officer, I have exercised my own mind and I agree that it would be an untenable situation for this kind of issue, which is still before the courts, to be debated in the house and that’s the decision I have made,” Mbete said.

Speaking in a statement, DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen said Mbete’s argument was nothing but a “desperate ploy to shield the Executive from accountably”.

“The Speaker is contending that the appeal of the High Court order by the State has suspended the order and thus nullifies it as prima facie evidence in support of the DA’s motion,” he said.

“This contention is simply incorrect. The outcome of the appeal does not change the fact that on the day President al-Bashir was allowed to escape, the Executive branch was well aware of the court order but decided instead to ignore it”.

Steenhuisen added that the party had given Mbete time until Monday to agree on a debate or it will take further legal action.

“The DA maintains that President Zuma broke his constitutional oath in allowing President al-Bashir to escape and will not relent in its fight to have him removed from office,” he said.