The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have proposed that the decision of whether or not the president is in “serious” breach of the Constitution or the law should be left up to a panel of retired judges.
The party made the proposal during Wednesday’s meeting of the National Assembly’s rules sub-committee.
The Constitutional Court ordered that MPs put in place specific rules to govern the process of the president’s removal from office “without delay”.
The EFF’s Mbuyiseni Ndlozi says using a panel of retired judges, rather than a committee of MPs, to determine whether or not the president is in serious violation of the constitution or the law means that he will appear before people who are “not politically conflicted”.
“The judgment gives us that space – if we read it closely it gives us that space to use judges. Because if they are decided by us nobody can say no, this is not Parliament holding me (to account). No, we are giving you a fair trial before we remove you or we keep you.”
However, Democratic Alliance (DA) Chief Whip John Steenhuisen wants a legal opinion on the implications of this for the powers of the panel, if it is made up of people who are neither MPs nor sitting judges.
Freedom Front Plus Chief Whip Dr Corne Mulder also expressed concern, saying that Parliament cannot shy away from its responsibility in terms of Section 89 of the Constitution.
“I’m a bit sceptical because I do not want to see that the powers of Parliament or the legislative arm should be undermined in any way whatsoever.”