The South African National Assembly (NA) on Thursday adopted a report on procedures to remove a sitting president.
In its plenary sitting, the NA gave its nod to the report submitted by its Rules Committee on Aug. 28.
The new procedures provide for any member of the NA to initiate, through a substantive motion, a process to remove a sitting president in terms of Section 89 of the Constitution, parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said.
Once such a motion is submitted, the NA Speaker must refer it and any supporting evidence to a panel of three independent legal experts, said Mothapo.
The panel, which the speaker appoints after consulting political parties represented in the NA, must assess if there is sufficient evidence for Parliament to proceed with an inquiry, according to Mothapo.
The panel must conclude its deliberations within 30 days and report to the NA, which must then decide whether to proceed with an inquiry, Mothapo said.
If it decides to proceed with an inquiry, the matter must be referred to a specially constituted Impeachment Committee, which will investigate, establish the veracity of the charges against a president and make a recommendation to the NA, said Mothapo.
South Africa's Constitution provides for the NA to remove a president from office on the following grounds: serious violation of the Constitution or the law, serious misconduct and inability to perform the functions of office.
But lack of procedures makes it hard for the the NA to remove a problematic president. This happened last year when pressure mounted on the NA to remove then president Jacob Zuma, who later resigned by himself.
During an earlier review of the NA rules, the Rules Committee discussed procedures to regulate the removal of a president but could not finalize them.
Parliament prioritized finalization of the procedures following the December 2017 Constitutional Court order that it does so without delay.