Johannesburg – EFF leader Julius Malema says President Jacob Zuma failed to defend the Constitution and should be recalled.
“He failed to uphold and defend the Constitution and that on its own is reason enough for the president to step down,” Malema told reporters in Johannesburg on Thursday.
“It is his primary duty to uphold, defend and respect the Constitution. There is no special treatment for the president here. Not by Parliament, not by the ANC, and not by anyone. When you are assigned a responsibility to defend the Constitution and you fail, that is the end of it,” he said.
Malema was reacting to the Constitutional Court judgment that ordered that the resolution passed by the National Assembly – absolving Zuma from compliance with Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s remedial action – was invalid and should be set aside.
Handing down the judgment, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said only a court of law could set aside the public protector’s findings.
In her Secure in Comfort report, released in March 2014, Madonsela found that Zuma had unduly benefited from some of the upgrades. She recommended that he repay a reasonable portion of the R246m spent on the upgrades, and that the ministers involved in the project be reprimanded.
Mogoeng found that Madonsela’s report, and the one by Police Minister Nathi Nhleko absolving Zuma of liability, were “mutually destructive”.
“The judiciary should have been approached to ask for the public protector’s findings to be set aside. Only then could the president have disregarded the public protector’s report and remedial action,” Mogoeng said.
Malema said some people would argue that Zuma used the Western Cape judgment, but he said Zuma had refused to pay long before the Western Cape judgment was handed down.
“Wrong legal advice and not knowing the law cannot be an excuse for not implementing your constitutional obligation. We call upon the ANC to do the right thing and recall the president and failure to do that, we will go to Parliament and call for the impeachment of the president,” said Malema.
He said until Zuma was recalled, they would not allow him to speak in the National Assembly. He said they would physically make it impossible for him to speak.
Today we are vindicated
“In between now and the impeachment, the president will not speak in Parliament and we will stop him physically. We will push him because President Zuma is no longer the president of the Republic of South Africa.
“That constitutional court judgment has got serious implications on Zuma’s holding on to that office. We are not going to sit back and allow the continuation of the violation by Parliament to continue,” added Malema.
Malema said this was not the first time that the National Assembly had acted unconstitutionally, referring to a previous incident where security removed MPs from the House.
“We have a Parliament that is permanently violating the Constitution, and by allowing Zuma to come and stand on that podium after having been found guilty of violating the constitution, it will be the continuation of the violation of the constitution.”
The firebrand leader was adamant that Zuma’s “journey ends here” and that if anyone continued to support him they would be questioning the integrity and standing of the highest court in the land.
“Today we are vindicated.”