The United Democratic Movement (UDM) is leading a campaign to curtail President Jacob Zuma’s excessive power to do some certain things in the country.
Actually, not only the UDM is calling out for Zuma’s presidential powers to be tamed, reports have it that other prominent South Africans, including some ANC members, are also of the same opinion.
This crop of politicians believes that the president wields excessive powers, especially in making appointments, and have on several occasions abused his presidential powers.
For them, President Zuma’s right to appoint and fire Cabinet ministers and heads of state institutions is excessive and should be curtailed.
Making reference to former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan dismissal saga, these critics made it clear that Zuma’s ill-considered decision to ax Gordhan resulted in the rand’s value dropping and the country being downgraded to junk status by international ratings agencies.
Before that, he dismissed Gordhan’s predecessor, Nhlanhla Nene barely two years after he took office. Zuma’s unprecedented step that saw the rand plummeting to below R15 to the US dollar.
He hurriedly replaced Nene with a relatively unknown backbencher David ‘Des’ van Rooyen – who served as a member of the finance committee in Parliament.
In an interview with Talk 702’s Eusebius McKaiser, UDM leader, Holomisa Bantu called for checks and balance, as Zuma cannot be trusted with so much power.
He said the drafters of the constitution formulated it with ideal presidents like Mandela, OR Tambo, Walter Sisulu in mind and not a “rogue element” like Zuma.
“When we drew up this constitution, we had thought we would always have a person like Mandela as president. We had not catered for the day we would have a rogue element sitting in the Union Buildings.”
Bantu, therefore, suggested that new Cabinet appointments should be vetted by parliament’s ethics committee and the public, adding that Zuma’s power to appoint individuals in key state departments and institutions such as the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) should be reviewed.
In his contribution, South Africa’s renowned political analyst, Dr. Somadoda Fikeni said drafters of the constitution never knew there would be a time it would be abused.
Fikeni said Zuma’s roles in the Nkandla saga, appointments of incompetent people to key positions in state-owned entities and state capture clearly show he wields excessive power and have continued to abuse these powers.
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It’s a common knowledge that Zuma wields power only because of a dysfunctional ANC electoral system that concentrates too much control in one man.
But a set of politicians frustrated by the president’s abuse of his powers has launched a campaign to restrict him from abusing his powers.