The trade union Solidarity has called on cabinet for the appointment of an Acting President, pending the finalisation of the report by the Commission of Enquiry as directed by the Public Protector in her report on state capture. The trade union filed a petition at Parliament and delivered letters to the Cabinet and the Office of the Speaker, setting out the grounds for this request.
According to Solidarity Chief Executive Dirk Hermann, the normal procedure in a labour context, in circumstances such as this, would be to suspend an employee pending the finalisation of an investigation. “The purpose of such a suspension would be to prevent an employee from interfering in an investigation or from intimidating and influencing witnesses. Given the position of power President Zuma has, he should also be placed in a position where he cannot interfere with or influence the investigation of the Commission of Enquiry,” Hermann said.
Hermann added that unfortunately neither the Constitution nor the Rules of Parliament make provision for the suspension of a President. “The Constitution does make provision for the appointment of an Acting President when the President is unable to fulfil his duties as President. The current situation President Zuma finds himself in by definition renders him unable to fulfil his duties. He is entangled in a web of corruption and deceit and only has one aim and that is his own political survival and evasion of prosecution. He has been compromised for a long time and can no longer uphold the Constitution.”
Hermann said it falls to the Cabinet to appoint an Acting President when the President is unable to appoint such.
“Because of the web of corruption that President Zuma is caught in, he is simply unable to step down or appoint an Acting President, because of the persons and powers involved. Cabinet must simply realise this, act in accordance with the Constitution and appoint an Acting President until the Commission of Enquiry has fulfilled its mandate,” Hermann added.