Ms Baleka Mbete
Speaker to the National Assembly
Republic of South Africa
Private Bag X15
Dear Honourable Speaker
REQUEST FOR A DISCIPLINARY ENQUIRY AGAINST PRESIDENT ZUMA.
The above matter has reference.
Following the scathing Constitutional Court judgment delivered on the 31st of March instant, and found amongst others: “
“Consistent with this constitutional injunction, an order will thus be made that the President’s failure to comply with the remedial action taken against him by the Public Protector is inconsistent with his obligation to uphold, defend and respect the Constitution as the supreme law of the Republic; to comply with the remedial action taken by the Public Protector; and the duty to assist and protect the office of the Public Protector to ensure its independence, impartiality, dignity and effectiveness”.
A barrage of vicious attacks was meted against the office of the Public Protector and the Public Protector, by amongst others, members of the National Assembly; to a point of accusing her of misleading the nation. This grave misconduct has adversely affected the operations, performance and effectiveness of the Public Protector. Notwithstanding the clarity given by the Constitutional Court, the President, in his public half-hearted apology, failed to express himself on this matter of national interest.
In July, justice portfolio committee chairperson Dr. Mathole Motshekga told the Nkandla ad hoc committee: “We should not, and cannot, apologise when we say the report of the public protector is misleading and has misled the nation.”
The National Assembly Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, led by the chairperson, Dr. Mathole Motshekga and Ms Thandiswa Mahambehlala brutally attacked the person of the public protector. This may have led to the economic embargo against the office of the Public Protector.
News 24 reported on the 3rd of April 2016; attribute the following to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Baleka Mbete; “Now I don’t know who owes the public protector an apology about what because as far as Parliament is concerned, the situation has been explained,” she said.
It is my considered view, that the National Assembly has a Constitutional obligation to hold the President accountable on this matter. He has the duty to assist and protect the office of the Public Protector to ensure its independence, impartiality, dignity and effectiveness.
Further, the Constitutional Court found, against the President: “Consistent with this constitutional injunction, an order will thus be made that the President’s failure to comply with the remedial action taken against him by the Public Protector is inconsistent with his obligation to uphold, defend and respect the Constitution as the supreme law of the Republic; to comply with the remedial action taken by the Public Protector; and the duty to assist and protect the office of the Public Protector to ensure its independence, impartiality, dignity and effectiveness”.
Schedule 2 of the Constitution under Oath or solemn affirmation of President and Acting President provides: “The President of Acting President, before the Chief Justice, or another judge designated by the Chief Justice, must swear/affirm as follows: In the presence of everyone assembled here, and in full realisation of the high calling I assume as President/Acting President of the Republic of South Africa, I, A, B., swear/solemnly affirm that I will be faithful to the Republic of South Africa, and will obey, observe, uphold and maintain the Constitution and all other law of the Republic; and I solemnly and sincerely promise that I will always –
- promote all that will advance the Republic, and oppose all that may harm it;
- protect and promote the rights of all South Africans;
- discharge my duties with all my strength and talents to the best of my knowledge and ability and true to the dictates of my conscience;
- do justice to all; and
- devote myself to the well-being of the Republic and all of its people”.
The President has on numerous occasions, and with regard to the report of the Public Protector and the security upgrades at his private homestead; made statements in the National Assembly, which were not accurate and may be bordering on perjury.
To date, the nation as has not seen, the size and colour of a piece of paper purporting to be a bond that the President told the National Assembly funded his private home. Access to this document was never granted to the Public Protector as reported.
Above all, the President had the audacity to come to the National Assembly and made mockery on a matter affecting the whole nation. We can all remember him infamously saying “…Nkandla – Nkandla! Owu Thixo – wa-se – George – Goch!”
Accordingly, it is my considered view that the National Assembly is enjoined to institute a disciplinary enquiry against the President, in order to ascertain the gravity and the seriousness of the conduct of the President, as determined by the highest court of the land.
In this regard, I propose:
That a disciplinary enquiry be instituted against the President to:
1.1. Investigate whether the President has not misled the National Assembly with regard to his pronouncement on the security upgrades in his private homestead as well as the report of the Public Protector; and
1.2. Investigate the gravity and seriousness of the conduct of the President as determined by Constitutional Court on the 31st of March 2016, and in line with section 89 (1) of the Constitution.
That the composition of the disciplinary enquiry be made up of three retired judges given that the National Assembly is conflicted, and that its findings should only be subjected to a review by a court of law where necessary.
That a Multi-Party Committee be established to conduct a review of the current legislation governing security upgrades for public representatives in order to avoid further occurrence.
That the National Assembly, set up a process that will immediately address the economic embargo meted against the office of the Public Protector and ensure that it is sufficiently resourced to be able to discharge its Constitutional obligations independently, impartially, effective and with dignity.
Finally, the National Assembly has no choice but to hold the President accountable. Failure to do so, will send an unfortunate message to many other entities, that since the President was never held accountable, no one will have consequences for misleading the National Assembly under oath.
Mr. Bantu Holomisa, MP
President of the United Democratic Movement