South African opposition parties resumed their offensive against President Jacob Zuma after failing to remove him through a motion of no confidence in parliament, urging the nation’s top court to force the legislature to discipline him for failing to uphold the constitution.According to bloomberg.
The Constitutional Court on Tuesday began hearing a lawsuit brought by the opposition to order the parliamentary speaker to convene a committee to investigate whether Zuma’s refusal to comply with a directive by the nation’s graft ombudsman to repay taxpayer funds spent on his private home warranted possible impeachment. The court ruled last year that Zuma’s action breached his oath of office.
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng expressed “discomfort” about the opposition’s request.
“There are three arms of the state and we each have a role to play in making our constitutional democracy function and function well,” Mogoeng said at the hearing in Johannesburg. “I just want to make sure that this court doesn’t get to the point where it takes over responsibility of the National Assembly, to the point of saying: ‘Establish this kind of an investigative structure and these are the terms of reference.’”
Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, a lawyer for the Economic Freedom Fighters party, said Zuma knowingly allowed public funds to be used for his personal benefit and that the court was merely being asked to give effect to the rule of law.
“The duty to hold the executive accountable lies with the National Assembly,” he told the court. “It is inappropriate for the National Assembly to in effect push that duty aside. A thorough examination of the president’s conduct has not been done by the National Assembly. There really is no reason why the court cannot grant the order that we seek.”
The court reserved judgment in the case. It didn’t indicate when it will deliver its ruling.reports bloomberg