Parliament has begun drafting new rules for President Jacob Zuma's impeachment, a process which could be ready for review as early as the end of the month.
Members of Parliament met on Wednesday to discuss new rules governing the impeachment of the president. This came after the Constitutional Court ruled that the National Assembly failed to hold President Jacob Zuma accountable after the Nkandla judgment.
#impeachment The draft rules from April 2016 that were circulated will now be re-drafted; committee's adjourned and won't be meeting tomorrow, only after new draft is ready for consideration. GD— Gaye Davis (@Gaye_Davis) January 10, 2018
#impeachment There's broad agreement on a 3-phase process: tabling a motion under S89, referral to a committee to establish whether or not breach of constitution/law is serious, then report to Nat Assembly & vote. GD— Gaye Davis (@Gaye_Davis) January 10, 2018
Committee Chair Mdakane says new draft #Impeachment rules could be ready by next Friday and then circulated amongst political parties. DA's Steenhuisen says a special NA sitting may be needed to adopt the rules as soon as possible.— Lester Kiewit (@lesterkk) January 10, 2018
The court ordered Parliament to create rules regulating the removal of the president in terms of section 89 of the Constitution, which deals with the impeachment process.
Opposition members on Parliament's rules committee debated various ways in which the president should be held to account. One suggestion was that a panel of retired judges should be put together to consider impeachment processes.
The subcommittee also spent some time debating the format that the body that recommends impeachment procedures should take.
The subcommittee resolved for a proposal to be drafted on the possible way forward on the mechanism for impeachment.
This includes the various options raised by MPs, which included a panel of judges to deliberate on the removal of a sitting president, a body comprising a combination of legal experts and MPs and a committee of parliament constituted in a similar fashion to the subcommittee on the review of National Assembly rules.
Ndlozi proposes retired judges be used to consider #Impeachment processes.— Lester Kiewit (@lesterkk) January 10, 2018
The committee wants the rules to be adopted by the National Assembly by the end of February.
In a statement, subcommittee chairperson Richard Mdakane said the committee has for some time been in the process of amending the rules.
He said that although the Constitution provides for the removal of a sitting president, it does not set out the procedures of how that should be done, and the Constitutional Court has tasked Parliament to craft the rules of how such removal should occur "without delay".
The common thread in the meeting was for the term "serious offence" –– as prescribed by Section 89 of the Constitution –– to be defined in the new rules of the assembly, as it could mean different things to different people.
"The subcommittee expects to have a draft rules ready in two weeks time and aims to conclude with the final document by the middle of next month, which will be sent to the rules committee of the national assembly for adoption," the statement said.