By Hassan Isilow
South Africa's Constitutional Court ruled Friday that the country's parliament had failed to put in place mechanisms to hold President Jacob Zuma to account after he used state funds to upgrade his private home.
"We conclude that the Assembly did not hold the president to account," Judge Chris Jafta said in a majority ruling broadcast on television.
Last year, the Court found that Zuma had violated the country’s Constitution by refusing to repay some of the millions of public money he used to upgrade his personal home.
The country's anti-corruption watchdog had ordered him to pay back some of the money, but he failed to comply with the directive saying he had done nothing wrong and was adamant he would not repay.
However, he later changed his mind and paid back 7.8 million rand ($538,000) used for non-security upgrades made on his private home.
Earlier this year, several opposition parties applied to the Court asking it to compel the parliament to start an impeachment process against Zuma.
The opposition also demanded that the parliament adopt rules governing the removal of a president from office.
The Court ruled Friday that the failure by the National Assembly to make rules regulating the removal of a president in terms of Section 89 of the Constitution was invalid.
"The Assembly must put in place a mechanism that could be used for the removal of the president from office," it said.
Zuma's African National Congress said in a statement that it would study the judgment and discuss its full implications when its National Executive Committee met the following month.
The 75-year-old president, whose time in office has been marred by several allegations of corruption, has survived several no confidence votes thanks to his ruling ANC party that has a majority in parliament.
Zuma stepped down as ANC president last week after serving as party leader for two terms.
If he is not recalled by his party or impeached, he will continue to serve as the country's president until mid-2019 when his second five-year term comes to an end.