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05 Sep 2017 15:52
The opposition says it should be determined whether Zuma violated the Constitution knowingly, or if he was ill-advised. (Reuters)
A fact-finding inquiry looking into President Jacob Zuma’s conduct during the Nkandla debacle will force him to account for his actions, the Constitutional Court heard on Tuesday.
Advocate Dali Mpofu, representing the United Democratic Movement (UDM) and Congress of the People (Cope), said the 27 question and answer sessions conducted by the National Assembly had been insufficient.
He also believed that an inquiry would allow interrogators to probe further and request evidence for statements made by Zuma.
“In an inquiry nobody is going to sit down, raise [a] point of order or tell you to sit down,” he said.
Mpofu said the inquiry would be an opportunity for Zuma to answer questions.
“Nobody is going to tell you that that question had been answered. Nobody is going to switch off the mic.
“We are coming to the court to say the correct process is that there must be an inquiry,” he said.
Mpofu was arguing in an application brought by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the UDM and Cope against National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete and Zuma for various orders directed against them.
The orders include one declaring that Mbete failed to put in place all appropriate procedures and mechanisms to hold Zuma accountable, following the president’s failure to implement recommendations in the public protector’s report into Nkandla in 2014.
Mpofu says it should be determined whether Zuma violated the Constitution knowingly, or if he was ill-advised.
“We are not vindicating his [Zuma’s] rights, we are vindicating the rights of the people,” he said.
However, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said the political parties were not talking to each other.
He said if parties in Parliament communicated better, issues would be resolved better.
“Does this not tell us that there is a problem? These parties are not talking to one another.”
“How can we have a situation for so long? All they [the parties] needed to do is to talk more,” Zondo said.
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng also told Mpofu that the court needed facts that there had been a violation of the law in the matter.
Mogoeng asked Mpofu whether the parties he was representing, doubted the seriousness of the violation of the Constitution.
“The doubt has been sowed by this court and sowed by [the Public Protector’s] report,” Mpofu replied.
Mogoeng maintained, however, that for an investigation to be instituted, it meant that the parties must be doubting the court’s judgment on the matter.
In 2016, Mogoeng found that Zuma had failed to uphold, defend and respect the Constitution.
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