Mogoeng's conduct places integrity of bench at risk - EFF

Fighters says CJ wrong to interrupt Justice Jafta or force him to read his full submission


Friday, December 29, 2017

The EFF welcomes the outcomes of the judgment of the Constitutional Court on the case brought by the EFF that parliament must constitute impeachment proceedings against Zuma. We welcome this judgment as a victory of our constitutional principle of accountability. 

It is important to note that the history of this case begins with the Nkandla judgment which found that Zuma violated his oath of office. This ruling, however, did not say whether the violation is a serious violation as it is required for an impeachment motion to be tabled in parliament. On several occasions, the EFF asked the Speaker of Parliament to constitute impeachment proceedings to inquire whether Zuma's conduct constituted a serious misconduct and a violation of the constitution and law. It is now a matter of public record that Baleka Mbete refused and the ANC did nothing about it to either protect the constitution or demand accountability.

Up to now, it is the EFF which ensured that Zuma is held accountable and pays back all the money unduly spent in the security upgrades of his private homestead in Nkandla. Following this, it is the EFF that ensured a secret ballot in the vote of no-confidence motion giving ANC MPs an opportunity to vote to take Zuma out of office using their consciences, still, a majority of them elected to side with him. Now again, it is the EFF that has ensured Zuma is going to be held accountable for violating his oath of office using an impeachment proceeding in terms of Section 89(1) of the constitution. In essence, it is the EFF that has been at the forefront defending our constitutional order from the assaults it has received from a corrupt president whilst the ANC has as been actively protecting him.

We call on the Speaker of the National Assembly to comply with the Judgment without delay. This means the house must be urgently convened before the state of the nation address to pass a new rule that allows an impeachment process in compliance with Section 89(1) of the Constitution. Such a process must, as stated by the Constitutional Court, establish "a factual enquiry into whether one of the three listed grounds in Section 89 (1) were present" in Zuma's conducti "e. a serious violation of the Constitution or the law, serious misconduct and an inability to perform the functions of office".

We reiterate our call for Zuma to step down from the highest office in the land and save parliament the time of having to spend one more day discussing his constitutional delinquency instead of focusing on the business of citizens. Once impeached, Zuma will lose all the retirement benefits afforded to presidents. The EFF will not rest until Zuma is removed from office because his continued stay in power as president after violating the constitution indirectly promotes lawlessness. 

Finally, we want to express our disappointment at the conduct of Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng during the handing down of our judgment today. We respect and affirm, even celebrate his right to differ with the majority of the justices on judgments. However, it cannot be right that he interrupted Justice Jafta's prepared judgment and openly forced him to read his full submission as opposed to a summary. 

When justices fight in full view of cameras it brings the integrity of the court and their judgments into disrepute. The CJ's actions may unwittingly create doubt in the minds of the public about the majority judgment of the court, which even if it is not unanimous, it must still be respected and fully complied with. 

We hope the CJ will find it in his heart to correct his conduct as it has potential to cast a shadow of doubt that just because he as the head of the court does not agree with judgments, then they have to be handed down accompanied by a signature of his irritation. If this is the case, he must know that it means he has mannerisms of a dictator who because he did not find his way, he is unable to bend his will to the majority. His conduct today places the integrity of the bench at serious risk. 

Statement issued by the Economic Freedom Fighters, 29 December 2017