Impeachment and motion of no confidence

The words ‘impeachment’ and ‘motion of no confidence’ seem to be media buzz words these days. Both concern the potential removal of a President, but with different requirements and consequences.

It is true, a President may be removed via an impeachment in terms of section 89 or via a motion of no confidence in terms of section 102. Note that the word ‘impeachment’ is not used in the Constitution.


Section 89 (impeachment) requires a vote of at least TWO THIRDS of the National Assembly should certain specific grounds for the removal exist:
a) serious violation of the Constitution/ Law;
b) serious misconduct;
c) inability to perform certain functions.

Should the removal in terms of section 89 succeed, the President may not receive any further benefits of that office (pension, etc.) if removed due to (a) or (b) and may not work for the government again.

Motion of no confidence

Section 102 requires a MAJORITY vote of the National Assembly, which is less than the two thirds needed by section 89, and does not explicitly specify certain grounds.

Should a motion of no confidence succeed, the President, Vice-President, other members of the Cabinet and any Deputy Ministers must resign.

The Constitutional Court recently ruled that it is within the Speaker of Parliament’s powers to grant a secret ballot. Should a motion of confidence succeed, the Speaker of Parliament will become the interim President. A new President would need to be elected within 30 days.