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South African parliament begins debate on motion to impeach Zuma

South African President Jacob Zuma listens at a news conference in Cape Town, in this June 14, 2005 file photo. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings/Files

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - South Africa’s parliament began a debate on Tuesday on a motion to impeach President Jacob Zuma after the constitutional court ruled that he breached the constitution by ignoring an order to repay some of the $16 million in state funds spent on his private home.

The debate was delayed for more than an hour after the opposition demanded Speaker Baleka Mbete recuse herself, stating that she was also cited in the case against Zuma.

Following consultations with lawmakers, Mbete ruled that she would preside over the debate. At the conclusion of the debate, parliament will vote on the motion to remove Zuma, who was not in the assembly.

Writing by James Macharia; Editing by Ed Cropley