10/01/2018 07:23 SAST | Updated 10/01/2018 07:23 SAST

Parliament To Deliberate Impeachment Proceedings

MPs will sit down to draft rules for how a presidential impeachment should occur.

REUTERS/Rodger Bosch/Pool
Parliamentary officers prepare for voting on the motion of no confidence against South African president Jacob Zuma in parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, August 8, 2017.

Members of Parliament will meet on Wednesday to begin drafting new rules governing the impeachment of the president, Eyewitness News (EWN) reported. At the same time, the newly elected ANC national executive committee (NEC) will meet.

On December 29, the Constitutional Court ruled that Parliament had to put rules in place specifying how a president could be impeached, and that impeachment proceedings against President Jacob Zuma should commence 180 days after that.

The application to the Constitutional Court, calling on Parliament to initiate proceedings against Zuma, was brought by opposition parties, eNCA reported at the time. This was because the Constitutional Court found that Zuma had failed to uphold the constitution in his handling of the Nkandla matter. The question before the Court was whether Parliament had failed to put in place measures to hold the president accountable.

According to EWN, draft rules were set up nearly two years ago but were not finalised. They stipulate that in the event that impeachment proceedings are brought against a president, a special committee should be convened and the president should be allowed to defend himself there.

The DA's John Steenhuisen told EWN that the party would be recommending a two-phase process, where different proceedings would occur based on whether allegations had been made against the president by political parties or whether the Constitutional Court had found he violated his oath of office. In Zuma's case, the latter is true, so there should be no need for a special committee, he reportedly said.

Meanwhile, Zuma's fate reportedly hangs in the balance as the ANC's NEC meets on Wednesday for the first time, with reports circulating that it will deliberate on Zuma's removal.

According to eNCA, the ANC will need to decide on which mechanism to use to remove him. If he is impeached, he will lose his post-presidential benefits and pensions. But it is unlikely that the NEC will decide to remove Zuma, according to IOL, and it risks losing support in rural areas if it does so. Senior ANC leaders were in KwaZulu-Natal this, reportedly in an attempt to maintain the region's support if Zuma is told to leave.