South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma survives Nkandla impeachment vote

wp-1457457341424.jpegPresident Jacob Zuma survives an impeachment move, thanks to the Parliament in South Africa who has voted not to impeach him, despite a court ruling against him.

The governing African National Congress (ANC) defeated the sponsored motion by the opposition, saying Mr Zuma was not guilty of “serious misconduct”.

Last week, South Africa’s highest court said he had breached the constitution by failing to repay public money used to upgrade his private home.

The opposition said Mr Zuma was a “crooked” president, not fit to govern.

After a rowdy debate, with MPs heckling and shouting at each other, a vote was called in the lower house, the National Assembly.

The motion was backed by 143 MPs and opposed by 233.

Mr Zuma was not present.

The ANC had denounced the impeachment proceedings as a publicity stunt.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) needed a two-thirds majority – 267 MPs out of 400 – to impeach Mr Zuma.

The party has 89 seats, and the combined opposition 151.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said public anger towards Mr Zuma was palpable, but he did not expect the ANC to back the impeachment motion because corruption had affected the entire party “like a cancer”.

“The ANC has lost its way and there’s no way back,” he added.

Deputy Justice Minister John Jeffery rejected the call to impeach Mr Zuma, saying the president was not guilty of “serious misconduct”.

Earlier, opposition MPs called for speaker Baleka Mbete to step down, after accusing her of taking sides.

Ms Mbete rejected their demand, after an adjournment to consult parliamentary officials, but then left her deputy to chair most of the debate.

Mr Zuma has been dogged by allegations of corruption since before he was elected president in 2009.

He was accused of taking bribes over an arms deal but he denied the allegation and the charges were controversially dropped just before he took office.

He later found himself at the centre of controversy over the use of $23m (£15m) of public money to upgrade his private home in the rural area of Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal province.

 

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