JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s main opposition will take any steps necessary to remove President Jacob Zuma from his post should parliament fail to do so, it said on Friday, a day after a top court ruled that the embattled leader had flouted the Constitution.
In a stinging rebuke, the Constitutional Court said Zuma failed to uphold, defend and respect the constitution by ignoring instructions to pay back some of the $16 million of state money spent upgrading his private home.
“We cannot have Jacob Zuma and the Constitution in one parliament. Both those things cannot co-exist,” Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane told a news conference.
The party said on Thursday it had started impeachment proceedings against Zuma, but the move is unlikely to succeed because his African National Congress ruling party holds a comfortable majority in parliament.
The judicial rebuke might however embolden an anti-Zuma faction within the ANC to challenge his leadership. The erstwhile liberation movement has ruled South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994, when Nelson Mandela became the first black president.
“Now is the time for the ANC to remove Zuma,” Boikie Motsi, 43, a car guard stationed at a Johannesburg park, said to Reuters on Friday.
The DA also called for parliamentary speaker Baleka Mbete to resign after the Constitutional Court ruled that the national assembly had also broken the law.
(Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Writing by Tiisetso Motsoeneng; Editing by Stella Mapenzauswa and Peter Graff) (Reuters)