Zuma Escapes Impeachment
BEVERLY HILLS, April 05, (THEWILL) – South African President, Jacob Zuma, has escaped an impeachment vote on Tuesday after a stormy session of parliament over a court ruling that he had violated the country's post-apartheid constitution.
Zuma has the lawmakers from his African National Congress (ANC) to thank as they rallied to his defence and crushed the motion by 233 votes to 143.
The Constitutional Court of South Africa had last week issued a ruling against Zuma over spending of public funds on his private residence.
The court ruled that Zuma had flouted the constitution by failing to repay some of the money spent on “security upgrades” at his rural home at Nkandla in the eastern province of KwaZulu-Natal.
The project, which cost taxpayers $24 million, included a swimming pool, chicken run, cattle enclosure and an amphitheatre.
A 2014 report by the government-appointed Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, found that Zuma and his family had “unduly benefited” from the upgrades and ordered him to pay back some of the money, but Zuma stalled for two years.
After the court ruling, Zuma apologised in a national television address on Friday for the “frustration and confusion” caused by the affair, saying he would pay back some of the money as ordered but made it clear that he had no intention of responding to calls to resign.
Zuma was also named in allegations of corruption centred on a wealthy immigrant family from India that was alleged to have such influence that it could decide ministerial appointments.
He has been wounded by a series of scandals and has endured a torrent of criticism and has been urged to resign by a number of senior ANC veterans who led the struggle against apartheid.
Story by David Oputah