South Africa vote on Zuma impeachment

South African President Jacob Zuma on November 10, 2015 in Berlin, GermanyImage copyright

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The president has been battling allegations of corruption since before he took office

South Africa’s parliament is due to vote on an opposition-sponsored motion to impeach President Jacob Zuma.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) said he was no longer fit to govern after the country’s highest court ruled last week that he had breached the constitution by failing to repay public money used to upgrade his private residence.

The governing African National Congress (ANC) is expected to defeat the motion.

It denounced the impeachment proceedings as a publicity stunt.

The DA said it would demand a secret ballot, but parliamentary speaker Baleka Mbete has rejected the proposal.

Mr Zuma has been dogged by allegations of corruption since before he was elected president in 2009.

He was accused of taking bribes over an arms deal, but he denied the allegation and the charges were controversially dropped just before he took office.

He later found himself at the centre of controversy over the use of $23m (£15m) of public money to upgrade his private home in the rural area of Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal province.

In 2014, South Africa’s anti-corruption watchdog Thuli Madonsela ordered him to repay a portion of the money.

Mr Zuma had “unduly benefited” from the building of a swimming pool, amphitheatre, cattle enclosure and chicken run, she said.

What Mr Zuma must pay for

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  • Swimming pool
  • Amphitheatre
  • Visitor centre
  • Cattle enclosure
  • Chicken run

How Zuma’s Nkandla home has grown

The DA and left-wing Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party went to the Constitutional Court to challenge Mr Zuma’s refusal to pay the money .

It ruled against Mr Zuma, and said the law was the “sharp and mighty sword that stands ready to chop the ugly head of impunity from its stiffened neck”.

The court also condemned parliament for failing to hold Mr Zuma accountable, and rejecting the public protector’s findings.

In a televised address to the nation on Friday, Mr Zuma apologised for the “frustration” caused by the long-running controversy and said he would abide by the ruling.

He had acted “in good faith” and “never knowingly and deliberately set out to violate the constitution”, he added.

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