The Herald (South Africa)

Use constituti­on to discharge Zuma

ANC recall of president

- L D V, KwaNobuhle, Uitenhage

WE live in very exciting times in South Africa.

The ANC national executive committee (NEC) decided to recall President Jacob Zuma and this was endorsed by its national working committee (NWC), which also mandated its top six officials to work out a strategy to remove the president.

Both these structures are the highest decision-making bodies between the elective congresses.

The top six officials went to Zuma and informed him that their structures desired a transition, to have one centre of power and he, Zuma, should hand over the state presidency to the ANC president, Cyril Ramaphosa.

Zuma refused and said, “I am going nowhere”.

They tried to convince him, but he remained more recalcitra­nt and defensive.

This is no surprise, as the man has been showing the whole nation a middle finger for the last seven years.

The top six were sent packing by Zuma, dejected and demeaned. What now and what is the lesson? The top six, without doing their homework, copied a totally flawed deed that involved then president Thabo Mbeki in 2008, when the NEC recalled him. Mbeki was obedient to the NEC and resigned.

Mbeki did not resist or challenge the NEC’s decision, but this was not correct and constituti­onal.

Mbeki had a great veneration for the ANC, and chose to save his beloved party and the nation at large.

Now we see Zuma refusing to resign. What is the recourse to this conundrum?

The ANC resorted to an undemocrat­ic blunder of delegating its NEC duties to one man, Ramaphosa, to speak to Zuma.

What can Ramaphosa do that the NEC could not do?

One can just speculate that Ramaphosa was sent to Zuma to plead with Zuma to resign and, if possible, certain promises and concession­s would be made to bend him to resign.

This leaves a country and ANC members bewildered that they are held to ransom by one ever-obstinate man.

Is Zuma legally or constituti­onally aberrant in this instance?

Zuma was elected president of the country constituti­onally.

How does the ANC want him removed politicall­y?

Is it not his constituti­onal right to demand to be removed in a manner he was elected?

How will Zuma accede to being fired politicall­y while he knows that his position is a constituti­onal position.

Zuma knows that he cannot be fired politicall­y.

A deployee accedes to political firing on his or her own volition; it is neither legally nor constituti­onally binding.

This situation we are in now, unfortunat­ely, teaches us, the hard way, that political deployees hold their positions dichotomou­sly.

On one hand, they are elected by their political parties and on the other hand, they are constituti­onally elected and these two streams are diagonally independen­t of each other if they are stubborn, as Zuma is at the moment.

Remember, he has around him well-educated, profession­al and highly paid legal experts, who will use any loophole available.

I think that what is taking place now in the ANC and country should be a lesson in our fledgling democracy.

It is incumbent upon public figures to make the constituti­on their Bible, because South Africa can least afford to have a dysfunctio­nal government due to political and constituti­onal knowledge deficit of its public figures.

Let us use our constituti­on and not take short cuts.

The ANC took short cuts with Mbeki in 2008 and succeeded, but that does not make this a norm.

May the ANC and other political parties use a correct way to remove Zuma now or any other bureaucrat­s in future.

Commentato­r Moeletsi Mbeki put it correctly when he advised that to constituti­onally remove Zuma, section 89 should be used.

My advice to political parties is if a political party has lost trust in a deployee and wants him or her removed, the appropriat­e body meets and decides to remove the person.

Confidenti­ally, it informs the incumbent. If he or she resists and is recalcitra­nt, the body uses the constituti­on and if he or she obeys, the case is amicably finished in secrecy.

Any public figure serves in a council, provincial legislatur­e and national parliament at the behest of his or her political party on one hand, and, second and importantl­y, at the behest of the constituti­on.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa