- The ANC NEC has given President Jacob Zuma 48-hours to resign or face the humiliation of being recalled
- Removing a sitting president can only be done in 2 ways
- Zuma can resign or Parliament could adopt a motion of no confidence against him
The African National Congress (ANC) National Executive Committee (NEC) has given President Jacob Zuma 48-hours to resign voluntarily or face the humiliation of being recalled.
This ultimatum can and will set one of two processes in motion: Zuma resigns or Parliament will have to take action.
While the ANC can recall Zuma only Parliament has the power to remove a sitting president from office, the National Assembly has two mechanisms in which to remove a president.
Briefly.co.za looks at the three options facing Zuma, Parliament and how each of the options works.
1. Zuma resigns voluntarily
This is the simplest and quickest way to end the current crisis. President Zuma would write a letter to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, announcing his resignation.
The deputy president of the country, in this case, Cyril Ramaphosa, becomes the acting president after taking the presidential oath of office.
The Chief Justice will determine a date within 30-days of Zuma’s resignation for Parliament to elect a new president from among its members. If more than one candidate emerges voting is done via secret ballot.
In this case, the Cabinet remains intact, but the incoming president has the authority to appoint and dismiss ministers as he/she sees fit.
2. Zuma refuses to resign – motion of no confidence
If President Zuma continues to play hardball and refuses to resign, the ANC will instruct its Parliamentary caucus to table a motion of no confidence against Zuma.
For a motion of no confidence against Zuma to succeed a simple majority of MP’s in the National Assembly need to support the motion. The ANC could conceivably remove Zuma without the support of opposition parties.
The ANC currently has 249 seats in the 400 seat National Assembly.
If the motion passes Zuma, his ministers and deputy ministers must all resign. Mbete will become the acting president. The Chief Justice once again has to set a date for Parliament to elect a new president within 30 days of his removal from office.
If Parliament fails to elect a new president within the specified time, Mbete will be forced to dissolve Parliament and the country will hold fresh elections.
It is important to bear in mind that Zuma will be afforded former president benefits if he is removed in this manner.
If Parliament fails to elect a new president within the specified time, the Speaker
3. Zuma refuses to resign – impeachment
The third and least probable option is Section 89 of the Constitution which is also known as impeachment.
This option would take much longer since a committee needs to be established which would look into whether there are grounds for removing Zuma. Grounds for removal include a serious violation of the Constitution or the law, serious misconduct or an inability to perform the functions of the office.
Impeachment requires a majority of two thirds to pass. If Zuma is removed in this way he loses all of his benefits including his pension.
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