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ILLEGAL FOR MPS & MINISTERS TO PROP UP PRESIDENT ZUMA – COPE

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President Zuma violated his office in defying the Public Protector over two years. He allowed ANC Ministers, Deputy Ministers and MPs to impede and attack the Public Protector in clear violation of section (181)(3) of the Constitution. The ANC led government did nothing whatsoever in the last two years “to ensure the independence, impartiality, dignity and effectiveness” of this Chapter 9 institution. In fact, it acted repeatedly in contradistinction to those constitutional requirements.

Lebo Keswa, on 31 August 2014, wrote in the Sunday Independent, “This has sadly not been the case if you consider how the ANCYL, the YCL and Cosas have taken to even insulting and denigrating the public protector at will, with no word of protest from the ANC leadership.”

President Zuma also allowed his Ministers to attack the judiciary until the Chief Justice requested a meeting with President Zuma and got an undertaking from the President to respect the judiciary.

On 30 June 2015, The Centre for Constitutional Rights (the CFCR) noted with great concern the increasing attacks on the independence, impartiality, dignity and effectiveness of the courts by senior members of the African National Congress (ANC) and its alliance partners.

President Zuma wanted voters to give him the numbers he needed to change the constitution. The constitutional injunction on him, as President, was to “uphold, defend and respect the Constitution as the supreme law of the Republic”. The constitution says that he “must” do this. That is how compelling the requirement is. With the support of the ruling party, he has chosen to ignore what the constitution compels him to do.

President Zuma’s latest gambit is that he never refused to pay back the money. He cannot say that he has been eager and willing to pay back the money and left no stone unturned to pay up and put the matter to bed. He used every stratagem to wriggle out of paying back the money.

The ANC and the National Assembly are both in a pickle. They cannot continue to plead ignorance of the law and of the constitution when, in fact, they are continuing to be openly defiant of both. The ANC knows that President Zuma violated his oath of office by omission and commission. Their failure to recall him must subject all of them to legal action as well. The supreme law of the land must remain supreme and MPs and Ministers who will buttress the President in the face of his undermining the constitution, will have to be charged for failing their respective oaths of office too.

It is untenable for President Zuma to remain in office. The MPs and Ministers who are continuing to prop him up are committing an illegal action.

Issued by Dennis Bloem, Cope Spokesperson

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