Events in South Africa point toward a new direction for African democracy–a movement away from military coups to remove unwanted leadership on the continent.
The Johannesburg-based Mail & Guardian Online publication reported on Tuesday, April 5, 2016, that the South African National Assembly debated an impeachment motion tabled by the country’s Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane to have President Jacob Zuma removed from office.
A report on theafricareport website later in the day indicated the impeachment motion failed, but the actions set a new precedent for African democray; one that closes the continent’s chapter on bloody military coups to change erring leaders in favor of constitutionally backed removal.
The Africa Report said on Tuesday, that South Africans have become wary of their parliament’s role in holding the executive account after a stinging ruling by the Constitutional Court last week. Last week’s devastating Constitutional Court ruling was damning on parliament and President Jacob Zuma.
The Constitutional Court ruled that Zuma had failed to uphold the constitution when he did not comply with Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s remedial action regarding payment for the upgrades to his private homestead, Nkandla.
It also ruled that the national assembly also failed to uphold the constitution when it set aside Madonsela’s report.
Zuma addressed the nation following the judgement and apologised, with the ruling ANC predictably saying it had accepted the apology and learnt from the ruling.
On Monday evening, the party concluded a special national working Committee meeting in Cape Town, where secretary-general, Gwede Mantashe said: “The report of the national officials was endorsed. At this point, what we need to do (next) is explain ourselves to the people.”
The “matter was now closed”, he said. The Democratic Alliance immediately filed papers for an impeachment vote, but analysts have already pointed out that this is likely to fail and Zuma will remain head of State.
Earlier this year, Zuma faced a no confidence vote, with the opposition charging that the people of South Africa had lost faith in their president, but the ANC hit back with a spirited defence, calling it frivolous.
Despite some emotional pleas from the opposition on why Zuma should be removed, the motion was dismissed. The debate on the removal of the president takes place in terms of section 89 of the constitution, which would culminate in a vote.
The motion has to be supported by at least two-thirds of the legislators, but with the ANC in the majority, it is unlikely to succeed. Opposition parties want a secret ballot but parliament insists a secret ballot was only used when electing a president, speaker or deputy speaker. Read the original article on Theafricareport.com : South Africa MPs vote on Zuma impeachment | Southern Africa