27 December 2017

South Africa: Replacing the President of South Africa


Now that the majority party, the ANC, has a new president (Cyril Ramaphosa) there is growing speculation that term in office of the President of South Africa (Jacob Zuma) - scheduled to end in mid-2019 - will be cut short. Both political and legal considerations are at stake. The politics of removal and replacement are for the ANC itself to work out. The legal issues are not. By ANTON KATZ.

The process of the lawfulness of the removal and replacement of the President are determined by the Constitution, the supreme law. The Constitution contains three, and only three, methods to replace a person as President. Significantly, resignation and/or recall are not mentioned at all.

The first is the two term limit. A term consists of the life of the national assembly, which is five years unless it is dissolved at an earlier point. No person may hold office as President for more than two terms.

The second is what is called a motion of no confidence.

The third is removal, commonly known as impeachment.

Different processes and consequences apply to no confidence and impeachment motions.

Any one of the 400 members of the national assembly may request the Speaker to...

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