South African parliament votes against impeachment of President Zuma

The South African parliament on Tuesday voted against an impeachment of President Jacob Zuma following his implication in a corruption scandal.

A total of 233 legislators voted against the motion to impeach Zuma, with 143 in favour and no abstentions, in the parliamentary session televised live by the broadcaster eNCA.

The Constitutional Court said last week Zuma had violated the constitution when not obeying a recommendation from the public protector to repay part of a sum of about 15 million dollars to upgrade his rural homestead in the town of Nkandla.

Zuma then apologized to the nation for the way he had used taxpayers' money for the restoration of his country home, but denied any conscious wrongdoing.

Zuma's African National Congress (ANC) party said Monday that it accepted the apology, meaning that it continues to support the 73-year-old, despite the damage to the party’s image.

The ANC-dominated parliament rejected impeachment proceedings, which had been launched by the main opposition party Democratic Alliance (DA), on Tuesday.

The proceedings were nevertheless seen as a blow to Zuma, who became the first South African president to face an impeachment debate in parliament since the country became a democracy in 1994.

The president had argued that the house upgrade was for security purposes, but it also included a swimming pool, a cattle enclosure, a chicken coop, a visitors' centre and an amphitheatre.

ANC representative John Jeffery told parliament that the court ruling gave no reason for impeaching Zuma.

The ruling did not mean that Zuma had broken his oath of office, the presidency said in a statement.

But DA representative James Selfe slammed Zuma as a man "who thinks that the rule of law does not apply to him" and who "quite simply does not deserve the title of president of the republic of South Africa."

DA leader Mmusi Maimane argued that corruption had infected the entire ANC "like cancer" and pledged to continue campaigning for Zuma's removal from office.

Speaker of parliament Baleka Mbete also came under strong pressure to resign, with opposition parties criticizing her over parliament's failure to pressure Zuma to repay part of the Nkandla money.

Last update: Tue, 05/04/2016 - 22:31
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