Zuma, first South African president to face impeachment motion since end of apartheid rule in 1994, is accused of upgrading home using public money.
JOHANNESBURG (AA) - South African President Jacob Zuma has survived an impeachment motion brought against him by the main opposition party, Democratic Alliance (DA), for alleged abuse of office.
Zuma’s ruling African National congress (ANC), which has a majority in the parliament, voted against the motion with 233 votes, while the opposition polled 143 votes.
The opposition-sponsored motion came after the Constitutional Court ruled last Thursday that Zuma had violated the constitution by refusing to comply with an anti-corruption watchdog’s order to repay millions of public money used to upgrade his home.
“When the highest court in the land ruled that the man occupying the highest office violated the constitution, it should have been the end of President Zuma,’’ DA leader Mmusi Maimane said in the parliament.
But, Maimane said, it was sad that the majority party had decided to vote in support of Zuma instead of the constitution.
“Today, it will be recorded that ANC members of this parliament chose to defend a crooked, broken president instead of the constitution and the rule of law,” he added.
South Africa’s anti-corruption watchdog accused Zuma in a 2014 report of misusing millions of public money to upgrade his country home in Nkandla Village in KwaZulu Natal province.
Security upgrades on Zuma’s home were supposed to have cost the state $2.5 million but other additions such as a cattle enclosure, swimming pool, amphitheater and chicken run saw the cost skyrocket to $23 million.
The watchdog ordered Zuma to repay some money but he was adamant, saying he had done nothing wrong.
This prompted the opposition Economic Freedom fighters party (EFF) to drag the president to the Constitutional Court, which found him to be in violation of the constitution by failing to comply with orders of the anti-corruption watchdog.
“Zuma and the ANC want to destroy South Africa and turn it into a banana republic, but we shall not allow that,” EFF leader Julius Malema said.
Since assuming office in 2009, Zuma has survived several votes of no confidence brought against him by the opposition. His leadership has been characterized by a number of scandals and court cases.
National Freedom Party lawmaker, Nhlanhla Khubisa said failing to impeach Zuma shows that majority of ANC parliamentarians have failed to uphold their oath of office.
“South Africa cannot afford to have a president who violates his oath of office. We deserve a better president who puts the country first and [then] his party,” he said.