A motion to impeach President Jacob Zuma was voted down in the National Assembly on Tuesday.

The motion brought by the Democratic Alliance (DA) only received 143 votes with 233 members of parliament voting against.

The DA accused Zuma of violating his constitutional duties over public money spent on his private home in Nkandla.

The parliamentary session was delayed early in the proceedings when opposition parties rallied for National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete to recuse herself, claiming that she was in a conflicted position.

DA chief whip John Steenhuisen said Mbete was “party to the crime” under discussion, with Economic Freedom Fighter’s member of parliament Mbuyiseni Ndlozi adding that she was “constitutionally illiterate”.

Although Mbete refused to formally withdraw after a 90 minute interlude, Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli took over shortly after the break. However, he too was continuously inundated with objections from opposition MPs.

Tsenoli told 702 radio on Wednesday morning that “often times people feel that you didn’t rule in a manner as expected.”

The Constitutional Court ruling over Nkandla has sparked harsh responses from political heavyweights such as former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel and anti-apartheid veteran Ahmed Kathrada, both calling for Zuma to step down.

Director of School of Leadership at the University of Johannesburg Dr. Sydney Mufamadi told 702 radio on Wednesday morning that “the people are asking whether at this rate their children will inherit the country of [Nelson] Mandela’s dreams”.

Despite the overwhelming defeat, opposition parties said they will pursue the matter further and have announced they would be writing to Mbete on Wednesday to request that Parliament institute a disciplinary process against Zuma. It remains unclear what this disciplinary process will entail.

In addition, a collection of civil society movements that includes churches, trade unions and academic organisations will be holding a press briefing on Wednesday afternoon at the Constitutional Court to outline a plan of nationwide protest against the decision.

 

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