ConCourt grills EFF on bid to hold Mbete accountable

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The EFF has argued in the Constitutional Court that speaker of parliament Baleka Mbete has failed to hold President Jacob Zuma accountable.

The EFF‚ the United Democratic Movement and the Democratic Alliance want the highest court in the land to order parliament to start impeachment proceedings against Zuma.

EFF advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi said it was clear that Zuma had violated the constitution by using public funds for his personal home renovations.

This meant parliament needs to hold him to account‚ he explained.

He said Mbete was the ultimate representative of parliament and she should have scrutinised Zuma's conduct better.

Ngcukaitobi said Mbete should have set up a multi-party committee to look into whether the president should be impeached. The committee would expect Zuma to answer to impeachment proceedings and explain if he lied to parliament about the Nkandla saga.

Ngcukaitobi said Mbete had failed in her "constitutional mandate" by not setting up such a committee.

He said that Mbete's argument that opposition political parties could start impeachment proceedings was "disconcerting" and that it was parliament's and her job to do so.

"It is disconcerting that the speaker keeps deflecting her responsibility to others … The attitude taken by the speaker is assigning responsibility sideways and she avoids responsibility at the end of day.

"It is the third time we are coming before the court. It is third time that the speaker misunderstands holding the executive accountable is on her shoulders."

Justices grilled Ngcukaitobi as to why the speaker was the only one to start impeachment proceedings and if any member of parliament could not do it.

The justices expressed discomfort about the court stepping in and doing parliament's job.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng explained that South African law requires parliament‚ the courts and executive to run the country and the court couldn't do everyone's jobs. He expressed "discomfort" in doing parliament's job.

"We are three arms of the state and we each have a role to play in making our constitution function‚" said Mogoeng to Ngcukaitobi.

Mogoeng also wanted to know if the motions of no confidence against Zuma were not ways in which parliament had held Zuma to account.


Source: TMG Digital.

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