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Mbete does U-turn on Zuma impeachment motion

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A motion to impeach President Jacob Zuma will be debated on September 1.

The announcement was made on Thursday morning during Parliament’s programme committee meeting, and followed threats of court action by the Democratic Alliance.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane gave notice of the motion earlier. The motion also called for an ad hoc committee to investigate Sudan President Omar al-Bashir’s departure from South Africa, in contravention of a court order.

Speaker Baleka Mbete refused the request last week after consulting with Parliament’s legal advisers. The DA then threatened to take the matter to court.

In a letter this week, Mbete conceded to the motion – based on another legal opinion from the same office.

In the letter, Parliament’s chief legal adviser wrote that Mbete’s decision was based on considerations applicable to substantive motions and motions in general.

“The Speaker has agreed to the publication of your client’s motion in light of it giving effect to a constitutional provision. The reasons for the refusal to publish the motion were based on legal and procedural considerations.”

Last week, Mbete also cited the sub judice principle for her refusing the motion because the Bashir matter was still before court.

But the sub judice rule, which states that when a matter is under judicial consideration it is prohibited from public discussion elsewhere, came under fire during a session of the National Assembly this week due to different interpretations.

Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor recommended that legal certainty about this rule and how it applied to Parliament should be obtained.

Mbete on Thursday morning said that the issue would be taken up by the relevant structures. News24

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