Rules Committee Agrees on Procedures to Regulate Section 89 of Constitution – Removal of a President

Parliament� Parliament’s National Assembly Rules Committee has unanimously agreed on Rules to regulate section 89 of the Constitution: Removal of President and has recommended that the National Assembly adopt them.

Section 89 of the Constitution provides for the National Assembly to remove a President of the Republic from office on the following grounds:

serious violation of the Constitution or the law

serious misconduct

inability to perform the functions of office

The new procedures, which the National Assembly Rules Committee adopted on 28 August, provide for any member of the National Assembly to initiate, through a substantive motion, a process to remove a President in terms of Section 89. Once such a motion is submitted, the Speaker of the National Assembly must refer it and any supporting evidence to a panel of three independent legal experts. The panel, which the Speaker appoints after consulting political parties represented in the Assembly, must assess if there is sufficient evidence for Parliament to proceed with a section 89 inquiry. The panel must function impartially and without fear, favour or prejudice.

The panel must conclude its deliberations within 30 days and report to the National Assembly. The House must then decide whether to proceed with an inquiry. If it decides to proceed with an inquiry, the matter must be referred to a specially constituted Impeachment Committee. This Impeachment Committee will investigate, establish the veracity (and, where required, the seriousness) of the charges against a President and make a recommendation to the National Assembly. The Committee’s report must include all views expressed in the Committee.

Once the Impeachment Committee has reported, the House must schedule the report for debate and decision at a House sitting with due urgency. If the report recommends that a President be removed from office, the question must be put to a vote. A President is removed from office if two thirds of members of the Assembly support the recommendation.

During the fifth Parliament’s earlier review of the National Assembly Rules, the Rules Committee discussed procedures to regulate section 89 removal of a President but could not finalise them. Parliament prioritised finalisation of the procedures following the 29 December 2017 Constitutional Court order that it do so without delay.

Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa