- South Africa's Constitution allows for 3 ways to get the president out of office
- They are used in cases where the president is no longer able to perform his job
- If one of them is used, a new president is elected by National Assembly
President Jacob Zuma is being called on to resign from office, following Cyril Ramaphosa’s election to ANC president in December.
However, there are talks that if he doesn’t resign willingly, he may be forced out.
Briefly.co.za takes a look at the three ways that the South African president can leave office before the end of their five-year term.
A president can vacate his office by simply resigning. It seems unlikely that Zuma will choose this option, but it’s what ANC members are hoping will happen to avoid further conflict within the party.
2. Motion of no confidence
Section 102 of the Constitution mandates this action.
Members of the National Assembly vote on this decision and a majority vote is needed to pass it. If passed, the president, Cabinet and deputy ministers must resign.
If this happens, the president still keeps the benefits afforded to a former president.
The Constitution doesn't use the word "impeach", but Section 89 of the Constitution allows for a process that is called impeachment in other parts of the world.
The National Assembly must adopt, with a two-thirds supporting vote, a resolution to remove the president from office. This can only happen on the grounds of a serious violation of the Constitution or the law, serious misconduct or an inability to perform the functions of the office.
If the president is removed through this method, he may not receive any benefits of that office, and may not serve in any public office.
The Constitutional Court recently ruled that Parliament must amend its rules to fulfil its Constitutional obligations. In a statement, Parliament said that the National Assembly Rules Committee had already initiated a process, as part of its overhaul of rules, to outline a procedure to be followed in implementing Section 89 of the Constitution.
"In this regard, Parliament will ensure finalisation of the Assembly's rules, in line with the Court's order," read Parliament's statement.
The process will probably entail that a motion is passed in the National Assembly to establish an ad hoc committee to determine whether the president failed in the abovementioned duties. The committee will then present its recommendation to the National Assembly and, if it is to remove the president, it will have to be adopted with a two-thirds majority.
This process could take months and is potentially what Zuma is hoping for. It will create conflict within the party, and lead to more time for him to stay in power.
Electing a new president
If the president resigns or is removed from office, the only item on the National Assembly's agenda will be the election of a new president. During this period, the speaker will be the acting president.
The Chief Justice must determine a date, within 30 days of the vacancy occurring, for the National Assembly to elect a new president from its members. If there is more than one candidate, the voting will be done by secret ballot.
If the 30 days expires without a new president being elected from within the National Assembly, the speaker must dissolve Parliament and new national elections must be held.
Which method do you think would be the best way for the National Assembly to remove Zuma? Let us know on our Facebook page and we could share your opinion online.