South Africa: No Sir, the President Does Not Have the Power to Veto the Copyright Bill

opinion

The request by DA MP Dean Macpherson that President Cyril Ramaphosa not sign into law the Copyright Amendment Bill is asking the president to break the law and face impeachment.

Last week Democratic Alliance (DA) MP, Dean Macpherson, wrote an opinion piece in Daily Maverick in which he repeated his request to President Cyril Ramaphosa not to sign into law the Copyright Amendment Bill recently passed by Parliament. Macpherson further implored the president to refer the bill back to Parliament, presumably to fix various alleged "flaws" in the bill as identified by the DA. The problem is that Macpherson was asking the president to do something unconstitutional and unlawful, something that would almost certainly amount to an impeachable offence.

The South African Constitution bestows only a weak veto power on the country's president. In countries where the president is given strong veto power, he or she is entitled to refuse to sign a bill into law if he or she disagrees politically with the bill or believes that it is flawed in some other way. In some jurisdictions the head of the executive is even given a line-item veto, allowing him or her to veto specific provisions in the law...

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