Cope welcomes the eminent, and long overdue, removal of President Jacob Zuma from office. Our country has suffered immeasurable harm under his presidency and his removal could not come sooner.
The constitution of the Republic of South Africa provides for how the president of our country is elected and removed. Provision for the removal of the president is covered under sections 89 and 90 of the constitution.
Section 89 (1) of the constitution states that “the National Assembly may remove the president from office only on the grounds of
- a serious violation of the constitution or the law
- serious misconduct, or
- inability to perform the functions of office.”
Section 102 states that “If the National Assembly, by a vote supported by a majority of its members, passes a motion of no confidence in the President, the President and the other members of the Cabinet and any Deputy Ministers must resign.”
Rev Frank Chikane in his book Eight Days in September informs us that the resolution of the ANC to “recall” then-president Thabo Mbeki from government had no legal force and “if enforced by the party it would be equivalent to a coup d’etat”.
Article four of the Constitutive Act of the AU outlines, as one of the Principles of the Union, the “condemnation and rejection of unconstitutional changes of governments”.
It is regrettable that the unconstitutional removal of Mbeki was not addressed by the AU. Had that happened, South Africa would not be facing another possibility of this coup d’etat by a political party.
The defence of our country’s constitution is the foundational principle of Cope. Accordingly, Cope urges South Africans to respect our constitution under any, and all, circumstances. Cope asserts that Zuma be urgently brought before Parliament and be removed in accordance with the provisions of our constitution.
Mosiuoa Lekota is the President of COPE (Congress of the People)