Despite the pressure arising from the Constitutional Court’s findings last week that President Jacob Zuma and the National Assembly had violated the constitution with regards to the Nkandla debacle, the Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete says she won’t resign from her post.
During a news conference on Sunday, she said she would not recuse herself from the debate to be held in Parliament on Tuesday on a motion tabled by the Democratic Alliance calling for the impeachment of President Zuma.
Baleka Mbete threw more light on the way the debate will be carried out on Tuesday. “We’ll use the rules we’ve always used.”
National Council of Provinces (NCOP) chairperson Thandi Modise‚ said she also would not resign as the NCOP did not participate in the matter.
The Constitutional Court ruling last week declared that Zuma and the National Assembly had failed to uphold the Constitution in their treatment of the Public Protector’s remedial action on the government’s spending at Zuma’s Nkandla homestead. Instead of taking necessary action, the parliament covered it up.
The court thereby ordered that Zuma must pay back some of the money spent on non-security upgrades at Nkandla.
Baleka Mbete told the briefing by Parliament’s presiding officers that the Parliament couldn’t agree more with Thursday’s Constitutional Court findings.
“The judgment makes sound‚ balanced and critical findings. In an important way‚ these are major and most welcomed lessons that will serve to guide our processes and approach in handling reports of chapter nine institutions in future.
Mbete reckoned that the constitution still rules the citizens irrespective of your rank in the nation.
“We cannot over emphasise the fact that the Constitution is the foundation of our society. The Constitutional Court on the other hand is guardian of our Constitution. We appreciate the clarity provided by the Court on all the matters which it dealt with.
“There is now legal certainty on this matter.
“One thing is certain — our democracy is alive and well‚” Mbete stated
She agreed that judging from the decision of the court, a lot of things could have been handled in a different way. She also suggested that the National Assembly and all its Committees will emulate this judgment and always refer to it in the course of relevant processes in future.
Mbete also suggested that the judgement should be reflected on by various political parties in the Parliament, saying she would meet with the various parties in Parliament to discuss the matter to see how it could approve the techniques of the Parliament.
However, Baleka Mbete disclosed that in her opinion, the court had not found that the National Assembly had violated the Constitution but instead criticised certain actions of the house.
“The court found that it was not correct for the National Assembly to pass a resolution that purported effectively to nullify the findings made and remedial action taken by the Public Protector and replacing them with its own findings and “remedial action”. It stated‚ “on a proper construction of its constitutional obligations‚ the National Assembly was duty-bound to hold the President accountable by facilitating and ensuring compliance with the decision of the Public Protector. The exception would be where the findings and remedial action are challenged and set aside by a court‚ which was of course not done in this case”.
“Therefore‚ the Constitutional Court found that the resolution passed by the National Assembly absolving the President from compliance with the remedial action taken by the Public Protector in terms of section 182(1)(c) of the Constitution was inconsistent with sections 42(3)‚ 55(2)(a) and (b) and 181(3) of the Constitution‚ was invalid and was set aside‚” Mbete explained.
Meanwhile, all eyes are on the parliament regarding the pressure on the speaker of the house Baleka Mbete to resign, renewed agitation for Zuma to be impeached and tomorrow’s debate to impeach him.