POLITICS

Mogoeng Mogoeng Asks EFF Why They Are Going To Court Instead Of Parly In Zuma Impeachment Case

“What is there to investigate" asks the Chief Justice.

05/09/2017 13:25 SAST | Updated 05/09/2017 13:36 SAST

Constitutional Court judges are laying into the opposition parties' impeachment case against National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete and President Jacob Zuma.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng grilled the normally charismatic Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, representing the Economic Freedom Fighters, demanding clarification on why the opposition parties brought their dispute to court when it could be resolved in the National Assembly.

"What is there to investigate? You have the benefit of the Public Protector's report and the pronouncement of this court... What uncertainty do you want to clarify?" Mogoeng asked.

"In order to kill whatever it is you want to kill, you can shoot... you can use a traditional weapon. Your party wants to kill the president's term in office...Every member of the National Assembly has the responsibility to uphold accountability. Why don't you propose an ad hoc committee to [Mbete]? Why should the court do it?"

Mogoeng brought up separation of powers between the three arms of the state.

"We are three arms of the State and we each have a role to play in making our constitutional democracy function. I want to make sure I understand the issue so well that this court does not take over the responsibility of the National Assembly," he said.

The EFF, the Congress of the People, the United Democratic Movement and the Democratic Alliance approached the court to make declarations on the conduct of national Speaker Baleka Mbete and Zuma -- declarations that could be used in upcoming impeachment proceedings.

Ngcukaitobi argued for the court to declare that Mbete failed to put in place mechanisms to hold Zuma accountable for failing to implement former public protector Thuli Madonsela's recommendations tabled in her Nkandla report.

He argued that Mbete therefore acted in violation of the Constitution and should convene a committee of Parliament or another independent body to investigate the Zuma's conduct to determine whether he is guilty of an offence.

Veteran advocate Dali Mpofu is currently debating the heads of argument for the UDM and COPE.