Pay back the money-Constitutional Court!

Ordered to pay. Pres JG Zuma has been ordered by the Constitutional Court to pay back the portion of the building of his Nkandla homestead.

The landmark ruling on Thursday morning has also affirmed the powers of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, whose remedial action has been confirmed as “legally binding” unless set aside by a court of law.

In a unanimous judgment by 11 Constitutional Court judges, Zuma was accused of failing to protect the office of the Public Protector, failing to uphold the constitution and ordered to pay back an amount to be determined by the National Treasury and approved by the Constitutional Court.

Meanwhile, the National Assembly’s absolution of Zuma, based on the Minister of Police’s report, was set aside and also deemed as flouting the Constitution.

“He (Zuma) failed to uphold, defend and respect the Constitution,” Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said.

The ruling criticised Zuma’s attempts to flout his actual avenues of recourse on the Public Protector’s report, namely the judiciary, choosing rather to allow the National Assembly to absolve him through alternate investigations.

The ConCourt indicated that the Public Protector’s findings are indeed legally binding, as without this ability, her office would be entirely impotent to fight corruption.

In the ruling, the president’s behaviour was declared inconsistent with his duty to uphold the constitution, and he was ordered to comply with Madonsela’s findings.

National Treasury has 60 days to determine how much Zuma must pay back to the state, bringing the figure to the Constitutional Court for approval.

If the amount is approved, Zuma will have 45 days to pay back the amount.

The National Assembly was also chastised for its conduct, with the court indicating its absolution of the president was also inconsistent with the rules of the Constitution. The president, minister of police and the National Assembly were also ordered to pay the costs of the application.

The Democratic Alliance, one of the two parties that took the matter to the highest court in the land, announced immediately after the ruling that it would launch a process to impeach Zuma in terms of Section 89(1) of the Constitution.

“Today’s ruling is clear in this regard: President Jacob Zuma’s action amounts to a serious violation of the Constitution, and constitutes grounds for impeachment,” DA leader Mmusi Maimane said.

Speaking to reporters outside the court, he added: “If I were him I would be drafting a resignation letter.”


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