The Constitutional Court handed down judgement in the Nkandla matter in a sitting that started at 10:00 am on 31 March 2016. In a highly unusual sitting, all 11 Constitutional Court judges gathered to hand down the judgement. The Nkandla and ConCourt hashtags trended worldwide on Twitter.
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng laid down the law in the Constitutional Court today.
President Jacob Zuma now has no more options and will have to pay back the money the government spent on non-security upgrades on his private Nkandla home.
The case was brought to the Constitutional Court in February this year by the EFF, joined by the DA and others. The key issue to be decided was whether or not Zuma should have followed Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s findings in March 2014 that he must pay back the money for features not related to security at Nkandla.
Mogoeng’s decision was clear; “Yes! Pay back the money!”
The chief justice set tight deadlines – basically President JG Zuma has 105 days to pay back the money, the amount of which has still to be determined within 60 days from today.
Mogoeng also reminded all of us of our vital democratic values of accountability, and using the state’s resources for the needs of the country’s citizens whilst emphasising that nobody – not Zuma, not Parliament – is above the law.
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng’s most important findings were:
- Zuma should have respected Madonsela’s findings and done as he was told.
- His failure to do this was inconsistent with the Constitution and unlawful.
- Parliament’s resolution that Zuma didn’t owe anything is inconsistent with the Constitution and set aside.
- National Treasury must decide how much Zuma must personally repay. It must present this in a report to the Constitutional court within 60 days.
- Once the Constitutional court has approved Treasury’s report, Zuma has 45 days to repay the amount.
- Zuma must, as Madonsela’s Nkandla findings said he should, scold the ministers responsible for the Nkandla scandal.
Mr President is the controversial first single released on Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh aka Vice V’s music/politics blog called “Long Talk 2 Freedom” (www.longtalk2freedom.com).
Mr President is a work of hip-hop protest literature which deals with the failed presidency of Jacob Zuma. The work remixes, and was inspired by, Tunisian rapper el-general’s classic, “Rayes lebled”, which became the theme song of the Tunisian revolution which brought Tunisian Prime Minister Zine El Abidine Ben Ali down in 2011.
Credits: Written, produced, mixed and mastered by Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh aka Vice V Recorded by @tigerx
T. Lekota, “Response to the State of the Nation Address”, February, 2013.
J. Malema, “They Shot us Behind the Mountain: Address on the First Anniversary of the Marikana Massacre”, August, 2013.
The EFF responds:
Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema says President Jacob Zuma failed to defend the Constitution and should be recalled.
“He failed to uphold and defend the Constitution and that on its own is reason enough for the president to step down,” Malema told reporters in Johannesburg on Thursday.
“It is his primary duty to uphold, defend and respect the Constitution. There is no special treatment for the president here. Not by Parliament, not by the ANC, and not by anyone. When you are assigned a responsibility to defend the Constitution and you fail, that is the end of it,” he said.
Malema was reacting to the Constitutional Court judgment that ordered that the resolution passed by the National Assembly – absolving Zuma from compliance with Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s remedial action – was invalid and should be set aside.
Handing down the judgment, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said only a court of law could set aside the Public Protector’s findings.
In her Secure in Comfort report, released in March 2014, Madonsela found that Zuma had unduly benefited from some of the upgrades. She recommended that he repay a reasonable portion of the R246m spent on the upgrades, and that the ministers involved in the project be reprimanded.
Mogoeng found that Madonsela’s report, and the one by Police Minister Nathi Nhleko absolving Zuma of liability, were “mutually destructive”.
“The judiciary should have been approached to ask for the Public Protector’s findings to be set aside. Only then could the president have disregarded the Public Protector’s report and remedial action,” Mogoeng said.
Malema said some people would argue that Zuma used the Western Cape judgment, but he said Zuma had refused to pay long before the Western Cape judgment was handed down.
“Wrong legal advice and not knowing the law cannot be an excuse for not implementing your constitutional obligation. We call upon the ANC to do the right thing and recall the president and failure to do that, we will go to Parliament and call for the impeachment of the president,” said Malema.
He said until Zuma was recalled, they would not allow him to speak in the National Assembly. He said they would physically make it impossible for him to speak.
Today we are vindicated
“In between now and the impeachment, the president will not speak in Parliament and we will stop him physically. We will push him because President Zuma is no longer the president of the Republic of South Africa.
“That constitutional court judgment has got serious implications on Zuma’s holding on to that office. We are not going to sit back and allow the continuation of the violation by Parliament to continue,” added Malema.
Malema said this was not the first time that the National Assembly had acted unconstitutionally, referring to a previous incident where security removed MPs from the House.
“We have a Parliament that is permanently violating the Constitution, and by allowing Zuma to come and stand on that podium after having been found guilty of violating the constitution, it will be the continuation of the violation of the constitution.”
The firebrand leader was adamant that Zuma’s “journey ends here” and that if anyone continued to support him they would be questioning the integrity and standing of the highest court in the land.
“Today we are vindicated.”
The Public Protector Responds:
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela says the Constitutional Court’s Nkandla judgment, which affirmed her office’s powers, has given hope to those South Africans who have been wronged by the state.
“Today the Constitutional Court restored hope in the constitutional dream for every ‘Gogo Dlamini’ out there who needs the Public Protector to hold government accountable,” she told reporters in Pretoria following the judgment on Thursday
Madonsela previously used the name “Gogo Dlamini” to describe an “Average Joe” or a typical grandmother who was wronged by the state, but didn’t have the means to face it head on.
The Constitutional Court ruled earlier in the day that Zuma had acted inconsistently with the Constitution when he failed to comply with the Public Protector’s remedial action on the upgrades to his Nkandla homestead.
Zuma had to personally pay back the money for some of the upgrades, following a determination by the National Treasury.
The Constitutional Court also found that the National Assembly acted incorrectly when it set aside Madonsela’s report.
A smiling Madonsela said on Thursday that the Nkandla case was a blessing to her office.
She said she felt vindicated by the judgment, and that Thursday marked a historic day for the country and its institutions.
“One of the lessons we have learnt from this is [that] those who exercise authority must be careful not to surround themselves with praise singers. It’s important for me to have a team with diverse views,” she said.
Madonsela said she was hoping to get at least one phone call from a deputy minister, who she did not name, who attacked her during her investigation into Nkandla.
“There is a certain deputy minister that I would like to receive a call from. He made it his mission to find people who disagreed with me.”
The Methodist Church Responds:
The Methodist Church of SA said on Thursday that if President Jacob Zuma did not resign, they would put pressure on the ruling party and the government to get him to do so.
The church, in a statement, was reacting to a unanimous Constitutional Court ruling earlier in the day which found that Zuma had acted inconsistently with the Constitution when he failed to comply with the Public Protector’s remedial action on the upgrades to his Nkandla homestead.
Zuma had to personally pay back the money for some of the upgrades, following a determination by the National Treasury.
The Constitutional Court also found that the National Assembly acted incorrectly when it set aside Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report.
The church called for Zuma to resign to avoid any further embarrassment.
“These events call for President Zuma to do the honourable thing and resign to save himself, the ANC and the nation as a whole from further embarrassment and ruin,” it said.
“This will go a long way in assisting his supporters to accept his exit, without the polarisation of society.
“If this does not happen, we the people of South Africa must put pressure on the ANC and Parliament to ‘assist’ the President to vacate office peacefully and constitutionally.”
The church said Zuma’s term of office had been marred by too many unresolved claims and scandals, which included the Nkandla matter, the 1999 multi-billion-rand arms procurement deal, as well as his relationship with the controversial Gupta family.
The church also called on South Africans to unite and protect the country’s democracy for future generations.
It expressed the hope that Parliament would in future act in a manner that demonstrated that it put the interests of the country first, rather than blindly protecting an individual.
The Anglican Church Responds:
Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba on Thursday called for a “tsunami of truth-telling” about influence-peddling in government by business interests.
He hoped the Constitutional Court’s ruling that President Jacob Zuma acted unlawfully in handling the Nkandla matter would give public servants and others new courage to speak out and generate “not just a wave, but a tsunami, of truth-telling”.
He was speaking during a graduation ceremony at the University of the Witwatersrand, where he received an honorary degree.
“We live in a society based on fear. Our members of Parliament are too scared to hold the executive properly to account. Those in the executive or in public service who are alleged to have been approached by a well-known family living not too far from here, who have allegedly been offered blandishments in return for business favours, have been too afraid to speak out about it,” he said.
Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas and former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor revealed earlier this month that the Gupta family had tried to offer them ministerial posts in return for business favours.
Without mentioning names, Makgoba said the courage of a few was breaking down the fear. He hoped it would unleash a wave of truth-telling about corrupt influence-peddling, not only by one family, but by other business interests too.
Makgoba said Thursday’s Constitutional Court ruling was a great day for South Africa’s constitutional democracy.
The Constitutional Court ruled that both Zuma and the National Assembly violated the Constitution when they disregarded Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s remedial action that he repay some of the R246 million spent on upgrades to his Nkandla home not related to security.
Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota hopes the ANC will learn from the Constitutional Court ruling on the Nkandla matter and comply with the Constitution.
“It is a very important judgment and I think the ruling party would learn much from the outcome of this. South Africa cannot abandon the Constitution. That Constitution is the only reliable thing to take our country forward,” he said outside the court on Thursday morning.
Democracy would not survive if the majority party did not adhere to the provisions of the Constitution.
President Jacob Zuma was no longer qualified to stand before the nation and deliver a State of the Nation address because he had ”already broken his oath of office’’, he said.
The court found Zuma and the National Assembly disregarded the Constitution by failing to comply with the Public Protector’s remedial action on the upgrades to his Nkandla homestead.
“The president failed to uphold, defend and respect the Constitution,” Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said in the unanimous judgment.
The court gave National Treasury 60 days to determine the amount Zuma should repay for those upgrades to Nkandla not needed for his security, namely the swimming pool, chicken run, cattle kraal, amphitheatre, and visitors’ centre. Zuma had 45 days after that to pay up.
Congress of the People leader Mosiuoa Lekota says ANC must learn that they cannot use their majority in Parliament to make provisions that are inconsistent with the country’s Constitution.
“It doesn’t matter how many majority you have in Parliament, if that majority is not consistent to the provisions of the Constitution, it is irrelevant,” Lekota told reporters outside the Constitutional Court on Thursday in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.
This was ahead of Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng’s judgment on whether President Jacob Zuma should pay back a portion of the money spent on the upgrades following applications launched by the EFF and the DA.
The two parties wanted the court to rule on whether Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s remedial action, set out in her March 2014 report, Secure in Comfort, was binding.
“It’s a very important judgment and I think the ruling party must learn from the outcome of this, that it does not matter by how many numbers they defeat the opposition, if they are not consistent with the Constitution it will go nowhere,” he said. Lekota said the court’s judgment was very important for the country and its future.
“For South Africa it is a make or break.”
He said South Africans needed to find a way to make sure that they put in government, political parties which understood the Constitution and were committed to implementing it in.
This would be in keeping with the oath of office that all members of Parliament took, he said.
“Frankly, South Africa cannot abandon the Constitution it adopted. This Constitution is the only reliable framework to take our country forward into a prosperous future.”
Corruption Watch Responds:
Corruption Watch has welcomed the Constitutional Court findings that uphold the powers of the Public Protector.
In a statement on Thursday, the organisation said the court’s ruling was a resounding vindication of the jurisdiction and centrality of the Public Protector in protecting constitutional values.
“We are naturally delighted that the Court has decided that the findings of the Public Protector are binding, an outcome that we have consistently contended for in both the Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court,” said executive director of Corruption Watch, David Lewis.
Lewis said the court’s findings ensured that the next Public Protector would also be a robust defender of the public against state abuse and maladministration.
Earlier on, the court found that President Jacob Zuma acted inconsistently with the Constitution when he failed to comply with the Public Protector’s remedial action on the upgrades to his Nkandla homestead.
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said in the unanimous judgment: “The president failed to uphold, defend and respect the Constitution.”
The court gave Zuma just more than three months to pay back the money for some of the upgrades to his Nkandla homestead.
Mogoeng said the National Treasury must determine the reasonable costs of those measures implemented by the department of public works at the president’s homestead that do not relate to security
This should be paid back personally by Zuma.
The Treasury had to report back within 60 days of the Constitutional Court’s order.
Mogoeng also dealt with the powers of the Public Protector, saying specifically that her remedial actions against Zuma were binding.
He said Madonsela was the “embodiment of a Biblical David… who fights the most powerful and very well resourced Goliath that impropriety and corruption by government officials are”.
He also described Madonsela as a “constitutional gift” to South Africa.
Zwelinzima Vavi Responds:
President Jacob Zuma thinks he is a chief and South Africans are his subjects, former Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said on Thursday.
“[He is] entitled to that R250m… he liberated us, he went to prison, he went to exile. Why are we complaining about small change of money?” Vavi told reporters after the Constitutional Court ruling on the Nkandla matter.
“That is what I think is in his mind, that he is the chief and we are the subjects.”
Vavi was speaking following the court’s unanimous ruling that Zuma and the National Assembly breached the Constitution when they ignored Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s remedial action that Zuma repay a portion of R246m spent on so-called security upgrades to his Nkandla home.
Madonsela recommended that Zuma repay a reasonable amount of the money spent on building him an amphitheatre, a visitor’s centre, a cattle kraal, chicken run, and swimming pool. She found these five items were not necessary for his security.
Zuma made submissions to the National Assembly, stating that he had not asked for the upgrades.
Vavi said the court’s ruling was a reminder to Zuma that he was not above the law.
“Today he’s been reminded that we fought for this tenet in this Constitution that says no one is above the law and that all are equal.”
Vavi said Zuma and his ministers had violated their oaths of office and undermined everything the “real ANC” stood for.
“They have no choice, they must go. The National Assembly, all of those ANC MPs must hang their heads in shame, they must go. The Cabinet must go. Everyone who had been giving the president a round of applause must go with him.”
Vavi said, although South Africa seemed to be stuck, it could be saved by ordinary South Africans calling for Zuma to be recalled.
Deputy Public Protector Responds:
Deputy Public Protector Kevin Malunga has expressed joy over the Constitutional Court’s finding on the Nkandla matter on Thursday morning.
“This is a great day for the Public Protector as an institution, but it is a great day for South Africa…I have always said the public protector has teeth and they are not false teeth, in other words we are a watch dog, and we take everything seriously as we do our work,” he said.
Malunga also described the Public Protector as “the best friend of government”.
He said if the country took note of the mistakes that the Public Protector office had identified, they would be confident that they were hard at work to create a better government.
“We are extremely proud, this was a beautiful judgment by Chief Mogoeng… 50 years from now we want to see a stronger Public Protector and a stronger institution,” he said.
Earlier on, the court found that President Jacob Zuma acted inconsistently with the Constitution when he failed to comply with the Public Protector’s remedial action on the upgrades to his Nkandla homestead.
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said earlier in the unanimous judgment: “The president failed to uphold, defend and respect the Constitution.”
Mogoeng also dealt with the powers of the Public Protector with regards to her remedial actions, saying specifically that her remedial actions against Zuma are binding.
He also said that Madonsela was the “embodiment of a Biblical David… who fights the most powerful and very well resourced Goliath that impropriety and corruption by government officials are”.
He also described Madonsela as a “constitutional gift” to South Africa.
Democratic Alliance Responds:
President Jacob Zuma benefited unduly from the upgrades of his homestead in Nkandla and must account to South Africans for it, Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said on Thursday.
Maimane was speaking outside the Constitutional Court ahead of the Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng’s judgment on whether Zuma should pay a portion of the money spent on the upgrades.
The EFF and the DA launched court applications regarding this. The two parties wanted the court to rule on whether Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s remedial action, set out in her March 2014 report, Secure in Comfort, was binding.
“Today is a critical day for South Africans. It’s a day when we get to enforce the powers of the Public Protector… so that no president will ever feel that they are above the law and they are above the powers of the Public Protector,” Maimane said. He said Zuma had acted unlawfully and hoped the court would hold him liable for that.
The DA also wanted the reports compiled by Parliament’s ad hoc committee and Police Minister Nathi Nhleko to be set aside as they were “unconstitutional and irrational”.
Maimane also criticised the manner in which Parliament had handled the entire matter.
“How Parliament handled this respective matter was in the worst form that you can find, so today is critical in that [the judgment] should support the Public Protector, it should make sure that Parliament always does its job and it must affirm the view that we’ve always held that President Zuma benefitted unduly and therefore must account to the people of South Africa.”
Constitutional Court Wrap Up:
Judicial history was made in South Africa on Thursday morning when the Constitutional Court announced that President Jacob Zuma had defied the Constitution when he and the National Assembly decided to set aside remedial actions by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.
“The president failed to uphold, defend and respect the Constitution,” Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said as he read through a unanimous judgment by the justices in the Constitutional Court.
Two years ago, Madonsela probed upgrades at Zuma’s Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal. She found that not all the multi-million rand upgrades were for Zuma’s security.
Pay back taxpayers’ money
She then recommended that he personally pay back the taxpayers’ money spent on non-security upgrades, including a visitors centre, an amphitheatre, a chicken run, a cattle kraal and a swimming pool.
For the past two years, Zuma has gone against calls from Madonsela and opposition parties to pay back the money. He maintained he had not unduly benefited from the upgrades, adding that he had not asked for them.
Investigations by an ad hoc committee appointed by the National Assembly, and a report by Minister of Police Nathi Nhleko, also found in his favour.
But just days before his matter went before Constitutional Court, Zuma backtracked on his decision and issued a draft order in which he said he would uphold the Public Protector’s ruling and pay back the funds.
National Assembly resolution unlawful
On Thursday, Mogoeng spent time explaining the powers of the Public Protector and emphasised that her remedial actions could not simply be set aside, but could only be challenged in a court of law.
“By passing that resolution, the National Assembly effectively flouted its obligations. Neither the president nor the National Assembly was entitled to respond to the binding remedial action taken by the Public Protector as if it is of no force or effect or has been set aside through a proper judicial process,” Mogoeng said.
“The ineluctable conclusion is, therefore, that the National Assembly’s resolution was based on the minister’s findings exonerating the president from liability is inconsistent with the constitution and unlawful.”
Mogoeng also ordered Zuma to reprimand all the ministers involved in the Nkandla upgrades, as well as those who were part of the ad hoc committee that found Zuma not liable for any of the expenses incurred for the non-security upgrades at his home.
To the satisfaction of several opposition parties in the court, Mogoeng ruled that Zuma had to pay back the money 45 days after the National Treasury determined exactly how much he would have to cough up.
Dressed in a white blouse, a red jacket with a big black flower pinned to one side, a beaming Madonsela hosted a press briefing in Pretoria following the judgment where she gracefully accepted victory.
Madonsela said the Nkandla case was a blessing to her office. She said she felt vindicated, and that this marked an historic day for the country and its institutions.
“Today, the Constitutional Court restored hope in the constitutional dream for every ‘Gogo Dlamini’ out there who needs the Public Protector to hold government accountable,” she told reporters.
Madonsela used the name “Gogo Dlamini” to describe an “Average Joe” or a typical grandmother who was wronged by the state, but didn’t have the means to face it head on.
While delivering his judgment and explaining the ruling, Mogoeng likened Madonsela to the biblical David who had a duty to slay Goliath.
“She is the embodiment of a biblical David, that the public is, who fights the most powerful and very well-resourced Goliath, that impropriety and corruption by government officials are. The Public Protector is one of the true crusaders and champions of anti-corruption and clean governance,” he said.
Following the ruling, government sent a statement on behalf of Zuma in which it stated that he accepted the court’s ruling.
“I took the decision to extend my home… and I built more rondavels. I engaged the bank and I am still paying the bond.” ~ President Zuma, Parliament, 14 November 2012
There is no evidence that any house belonging to the president was built with public money. ~ Minister of Public Works, Thulas Nxesi, January 2013
Unfortunately it took a long time. ~ Nxesi, explaining to the Parliamentary ad hoc committee that neglect at Nkandla was due to ongoing investigations that halted the project, July 2015
[There is] a disturbing tendency to invoke the name of the president to move the project along. ~ Nxesi, to Parliament’s special committee, explaining that undue haste resulted in overspending without the president’s knowledge, September 2014.
I think I said it from the beginning… I do not know where the R246-million comes from and I can only talk about figures with a point of reference to issues of authority. ~ Minister Nathi Nhleko, July 2015
The Public Protector is behaving like the DA. ~ ANC MP Bongani Bongo, August 2015
She thinks she is God. ~ MKMVA Chairperson Kebby Maphatsoe, September 2014
The Public Protector clearly displays a lack of understanding of her powers as the public protector, as well as an understanding of the law in general. ~ Lawyer and author of the paper “Legal presentation of our case for the review of the public protector of RSA ~ Solomuzi Mdlele, April 2014
It was wrong for the opposition parties to believe the Public Protector report is above all. ~ ANC Deputy Chief Whip Doris Dlakude (acting chief whip), November 2014
[We note Madonsela’s report] with sheer disgust… Madonsela must finish up with this Nkandla mess then go. She isn’t competent to speak on issues of security. ~ ANC Youth League’s Mzwandile Masina, March 2014
The role of the Public Protector is akin to that of an ombud and quite distinct from that of a judge. Similarly, reports emanating from a Public Protector process are not judgments to be followed under pain of a contempt order… ~ President Jacob Zuma, 2014.
We should not, and cannot, apologise when we say the report of the Public Protector … has misled the nation. ~ Mathole Motshekga, July 2015
The President should be respected like any other citizen. We are marching to protect his dignity. ~ ANC Women’s League, October 2015.
We have learnt lessons from the judgement, and wish to state it unequivocally, unambiguously and categorically clear that we firmly stand behind the ANC President, Cde Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma,who, even before the ruling, indicated his preparedness to pay in accordance with the Public Protector’s recommendations. This is a sign of continuous strengthening of our democracy that we learn every time. ~ ANC Women’s League, 31 March 2015.
We must be strong. We knew that when he got appointed that there would be challenges. I know personally that he will get through this… If the ANC no longer wants him he must come back and herd his cows. We will always be there for him. ~ Inkosi Simphiwe Zuma, of the Nxamalala clan in Impendle, 31 March 2016
That the DA is making allegations of corruption is not itself proof that President Zuma is corrupt. Nor is it proof that the expenditure is not justifiable… The ministerial investigation did inform us that the president did nothing wrong. No amount of shouting by the DA-led coalition of opposition parties brings up any new facts. ~ Zweli Mkhize, ANC Treasurer-General, April 2013
The retaining wall, cattle kraal and culvert, fire pool and water reservoir, accommodation for security personnel and visitors waiting are all essential security features which ensure physical security and effective operation of security equipment. ~ Minister Jeff Radebe, March 2014
[President Zuma] is still head of state, even if he is at home. ~ Nhleko, May 2015
Accordingly, the State President is therefore not liable to pay for any of the security features. ~ Nhleko, May 2015
The report was researched and if it is refuted, it requires that research be conducted. That hasn’t happened. There has been no judgment against the report. ~ Nhleko on his earlier finding that in fact more improvements were needed for fire safety aspects, March 2016
The Constitutional Court will simply dismiss the EFF case on Nkandla and point them to Parliamentary process. ~ Jimmy Manyi, Twitter, August 2015
Sanef’s expectation that Parliament should have the authority over who accesses the president’s home and its subsequent criticism of the institution for its inability to do so is without foundation and unfair. The ANC would be the first to speak out against any undue interference with or limitations on media’s right to media freedom. ~ Then ANC Chief Whip Stone Sizani, July 2015
It is a call prematurely made. ~ S’dumo Dlamini on the call for accountability regarding Nkandla upgrades, December 2013
In my view I would find that it would be premature to come to a conclusion to say there was undue benefit, because that determination must be preceded by expert assessment and determination. ~ Mathole Motshekga, October 2014
I believe the question is premature… ~ Zuma, 6 August 2015
Mbete said the question had expired at the end of last year in terms of the rules of the house when Parliament went for Christmas recess. ~ Dispatch Live, March 2015
No state funds were used to build the president’s private residence. ~ Ministerial Task Team, December 2013.
Parliament reiterates that it treats all institutions supporting democracy in a manner that is consistent with the Constitution. ~ Speaker Baleka Mbete, August 2015.
We have been consistent on our position that President Zuma needed to pay a portion of the Nkandla money in line with the Public Protector’s decision. ~ Stone Sizani, March 2016.
I have been addressing the ANC caucus for the past two years now. Not a single MP stood up and said they were unhappy with how the Nkandla matter was handled. ~ Sizani, 31 March 2016
I did not use the public’s money in Nkandla. What I’m saying is I’m not guilty. ~ Zuma, March 2014
The reality is, the president did absolutely nothing wrong. There is not a single one [report] that found anything wrong that the president had done. ~ Zuma, December 2014
No one has found that they [the government departments involved] did anything wrong. ~ Zuma, May 2015.
To me, if Nhleko says we will spend more money, and leaves it at that, I think that is reckless in the first place. That is my view. That is reckless. ~ Gwede Mantashe, July 2015
From the beginning, I once said to him, President, prepare yourself for repayment. This is before the [Public Protector] report came out. And I said, if you have a problem I’m sure that in your present position it won’t be difficult to raise. He said, no, I did not ask for those security enhancements, I’m not paying. I understood his point of view. ~ Mac Maharaj, July 2015
If every time Trevor Manuel gets up and he speaks badly of Parliament and he speaks badly of the courts, he speaks badly of the Auditor-General, of the Public Protector, he makes press statements against them, then what you invite is open season on everything. You don’t have to like the individual, but you have to respect the office. If you fail to understand that, then you weaken the institutions and democracy will always struggle if its institutions are weakened. ~ Former finance minister Trevor Manuel, March 2014
It has been investigated by the inter-ministerial task team, as well as the Public Protector, and what I was saying is… there are reports, there are recommendations, and those reports must be acted upon. There’s no ‘if not’. That’s the right thing to do…What needs to be done has to be done. Those who must take responsibility have got to take responsibility. ~ Kgalema Motlanthe, March 2014
The Department of Public Works has not spent any money on the upgrade of the president’s Nkandla home. ~ Then Minister of Public Works, Geoff Doidge, September 2010
People knew the laws they operated under, (but) they simply forgot the laws. ~ Mmamoloko Kubayi (ANC)
I am not worried about Nkandla, it’s not my problem. ~ Zuma, May 2014
Never have I ever thought on the date when I will pay back the money. Firstly, there is no money that I am going to be paying back without a determination by those who are authorised to do so. ~ Zuma, March 2015
The Public Protector has not said ‘pay back the money’. ~ Zuma, Parliament, March 2015
Why do you say I should pay back the money? You don’t even know how much. ~ Zuma, March 2015
There is no case against me. ~ Zuma, March 2014
[The EFF’s] understanding is that there is a judgment that Zuma must pay back the money and there is nothing like that. ~ Zuma, May 2015.
See you in court. ~ Zuma, Parliament, early 2016
This is not correct… this was just a political perception created that I am refusing to pay. ~ Zuma, February 2016.
Never have I dodged a question in Parliament, I have never. ~ Zuma, March 2015.
I’ve forgiven them because I know it’s not personal. It’s about preservation because he [Sizani] knows the truth. ~ Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, March 2014
I am concerned that the decision you have made regarding the police minister gives him power he does not have under law, which is to review my decision taken in pursuit of the powers of administrative scrutiny I am given… by the Constitution. ~ letter from Madonsela to Zuma, August 2014
In a unanimous judgment written by Mogoeng CJ, this court held that the power of the Public Protector to take appropriate remedial action has legal effect and is binding. ~ Statement released by the ConCourt to media, 31 March 2016.
The National Assembly’s resolution, based on the minister’s findings exonerating the president from liability, was inconsistent with the Constitution and unlawful. ~ Statement released by the ConCourt to media, 31 March 2016[B]y failing to comply with the Public Protector’s order, the President failed to “uphold, defend and respect” the Constitution because a duty to repay the money was specifically imposed on him through the Public Protector’s constitutional power. […] The failure by the president to comply with the remedial action taken against him, by the Public Protector in her report of 19 March 2014, is inconsistent with section 83(b) of the Constitution read with sections 181(3) and 182(1)(c) of the Constitution and is invalid.
President Jacob Zuma Responds:
President Jacob Zuma on Friday evening 1 April 2016, in a televised address to the nation, said he “unreservedly” welcomes the Constitutional Court’s judgment that he pay back some of the money spent on the non-security upgrades to his private Nkandla residence, in line with the remedial action contained in the Public Protector’s report.
“Yesterday, the Constitutional Court … issued a judgement on the matter of security upgrades at my private residence in Nkandla.
“I welcome the judgement of the Constitutional Court unreservedly.
“The judgement has underscored the values that underpin our hard-won freedom and democracy, such as the rule of law and the accountability of public office bearers, while also respecting the rights of public office bearers facing scrutiny,” President Zuma said.
He said the judgement has further strengthened the country’s constitutional democracy and should make South Africans proud of their country’s Constitution and its strong and effective institutions.
“This is a ground-breaking judgement with regards to the powers of the Public Protector.
“I wish to thank the Court for providing clarity which will have a positive impact on other Chapter 9 institutions as well with regards to their work,” he said.
He said the Constitutional Court has ruled that the remedial actions of the Public Protector are binding, and that anyone wishing to challenge the remedial action can only do so through a review by a court of law.
“The Court has also ruled that the remedial actions with regards to six features of the Nkandla project must be carried out,” he said.
This entails the National Treasury establishing a reasonable proportion of the reasonable costs of each item to be paid by the President.
President Zuma respects, abides by judgement
President Zuma said he respected the judgement and will abide by it.
“I respect the judgement and will abide by it.
“I have consistently stated that I would pay an amount towards the Nkandla non-security upgrades once this had been determined by the correct authority. The Court has ruled on the matter and has devised a mechanism for such determination by the National Treasury.”
He said as alluded to by the court, they participated in the resolution of this matter voluntarily, through the proposal they made before the matter was heard by the court.
“We also consulted with other parties to the dispute as directed by the court. In the proposal I stated my willingness to pay and to abide by other measures.
“I would like to emphasise that it was never my intention not to comply with the remedial action taken against me by the Public Protector or to disrespect her office.
“It is for this reason that on receiving the report, I submitted it and my initial response to it to the National Assembly within 14 days as required by the Public Protector,” the President said.
He said the Court has welcomed this compliance and stated in the judgment that he also followed up with another response five months later.
“I then allowed another arm of the state, the National Assembly, to go through its own processes in dealing with the report.
“I welcome the finding of the court that it was legally permissible for me to inquire into the correctness of the aspects of the report that I may disagree with.
“I also welcome the clarity provided by the Constitutional Court that I should have then taken the matter on review by a court of law in the event of any queries or disagreement,” he said.
He said this interpretation will be followed by the Executive in the future in light of this judgement, adding that it will put an end to any other interpretations of this matter.
“I also respect the finding that failure to comply with the remedial action taken against me by the Public Protector is inconsistent with the Constitution of the Republic.
President Zuma never knowingly violated Constitution
“I wish to emphasise that I never knowingly or deliberately set out to violate the Constitution, which is the supreme law of the Republic.
“The finding by the court that my failure to comply with the remedial action taken against me by the Public Protector is inconsistent with the Constitution and therefore invalid, flows from the fact that I initially followed a different approach,” President Zuma said.
He said he did not act dishonestly with regards to the matter. “I wish to confirm in line with the findings of both the court and the Public Protector, that I did not act dishonestly or with any personal knowledge of the irregularities by the Department of Public Works with regards to the Nkandla project.
“The intention was not in pursuit of corrupt ends or to use state resources to unduly benefit me and my family. Hence I have agreed to pay for the identified items once a determination is made”.
Supply chain problems
He said the judgement has been very helpful.
“There are lessons to be learned for all of us in government which augur well for governance in the future.
“The Nkandla project brought sharply into focus, the problems within the government supply chain mechanisms.”
He said the gross inflation of prices in the Nkandla project is totally unacceptable and should never have been allowed, hence government is improving procurement measures to prevent any future recurrence.
Improving supply chain procedures
“The Office of the Chief Procurement Officer has been established at the National Treasury for this purpose of ensuring that strict supply chain procedures are followed by government departments,” the President said.
He said government also took a conscious decision to clean up the Department of Public Works to ensure that the flouting of supply chain procedures is eradicated and prevented.
“I issued a proclamation in December 2013 authorising the Special Investigating Unit to investigate the irregularities in the procurement of goods and services by government officials, their close family members or friends and contractors in Nkandla,” he said.
Criminal referrals sent to departments
He said subsequent to this, the Department of Public Works has instituted civil claims against the implicated officials and contractors.
Criminal referrals, the President said, have also been submitted to the National Prosecuting Authority, while referrals have also been sent to relevant government departments for disciplinary action.
“The Presidency is also reviewing the policy on the security benefits of members of the National Executive, to ensure that there is clarity with regards to what members are entitled to.”
President Zuma apologises to the nation
“I wish to reiterate that any action that has been found not to be in keeping with the Constitution happened because of a different approach and different legal advice.
“It all happened in good faith and there was no deliberate effort or intention to subvert the Constitution on my part.”
He said the judgement has helped him and his colleagues to reflect deeply on the entire matter. With hindsight, there are many matters that could have been handled differently, and which should never have been allowed to drag on this long, which was deeply regretted.
“The matter has caused a lot of frustration and confusion, for which I apologise, on my behalf and on behalf of government.
“I urge all parties to respect the judgement and abide by it,” President Zuma said.
He urged the nation to use the judgement to build and further strengthen the country’s democracy. – SAnews.gov.za
On Facebook Jennifer Lindridge wrote:
AN OPEN LETTER TO ZUMA AND HIS CABINET
Dear Mr President,
I do not accept your apology.
You stood before the country last night and lied to our faces.
You take us for fools. You look down on us. You belittle us. You insult our intelligence. Because…
We are your battered wife. We are your abused children.
We’ve swallowed your lies and given you benefit of the doubt time and time again. We’ve given you chance after chance to redeem yourself and show us that you can be worthy of your presidential position as head of this country.
But we’ve grown up now, and we see you and your cabinet for the thieves, liars, pocket-lining yes-men and women that they are.
And we are so very tired of it.
You are not a man we can trust.
You are a man that has let us down – repeatedly.
In 1994, I voted for the ANC and all that it then stood for. It was a party that had earned its stripes. It was a party headed by men of vision, strength of character, moral integrity and a real love for this beautiful South Africa and its people. Mr President, you and your cabinet are not men of vision. You’re not honest men. And you’re not men of integrity.
You and your cabinet are the self-entitled children of parents that worked hard and sacrificed. You, Mr Zuma, have not earned your position.
Your ANC is nothing that resembles what I voted for and what I once believed in.
It angers me when in every speech, you hark back to the golden days of Mandela’s ANC. Because that’s exactly what it was. Mandela’s ANC. Mandela’s vision. Mandela’s love. Mandela’s honesty. You are not Mandela. And the ANC that exists today is not worthy of the legacy left to it. You and your ANC have sold our country to the highest bidder.
I do not believe that you care about South Africa or its people at all. You have raped its resources and ruined our reputation.
As a direct result of your actions, our currency has plummeted. Please, don’t blame others. You are the head of this country. The buck stops with you.
Disinvestment is a result of your actions. Please, don’t deny it and don’t shift the blame. You are the head of this country. The buck stops with you.
Nkandla, your lavish palace, was built using taxpayer’s money. It was built using my money that I gave to you to build safer roads, improve our hospitals, educate our children. Instead, it was used and abused to make you more comfortable. As such, my money was stolen. Please, don’t insult me by blaming the contractors or the lawyers. You are the head of this country. The buck stops with you.
There are so many instances where you have lied, stolen, behaved badly, cheated and shown us just how corrupt you and your cabinet are: Guptagate; your rape scandal; the continual, absolute disregard for our constitution; the disbanding of the Scorpions that were investigating your wrongdoings. You have blatantly abused the system that you were entrusted with for your own benefit – time and time again. Year in and year out.
I do not believe you care. I believe that you truly think that you can get away with anything. Because that is the pattern that we have allowed and tolerated.
Had you admitted your wrongdoings and resigned. You might’ve saved your party. The fools in this scenario are all the men and women in your cabinet who have backed and stood loyally by you for fear of losing their own comfortable positions. Because now, we don’t trust the ANC at all either.
Ordinary South Africans who supported the ANC are tired of believing the lies.
We want change. We demand it.
And it is coming.
We are a dissatisfied nation of dissatisfied countrymen. I smell mutiny. We know you as a coward and a sellout. If I were you, I would jump ship and leave your loyal followers to the sharks.
I am an ordinary South African that recognises that you are unfit to lead.
I demand your resignation.
A user of the hashtag – ?#?ZumaMustFallNOW?
AND, a New York Times editorial said; “Time for South Africa’s Jacob Zuma to Step Down“:
Cronyism, corruption and scandal have swirled around Jacob Zuma since before he became president of South Africa in May 2009, and the muck has only deepened since. On Thursday the country’s highest court ruled that he had violated the Constitution by refusing to pay back millions that the government spent improving his home.
Before that, there were reports that the Guptas, a powerful business family close to Mr. Zuma, had offered to arrange cabinet posts for politicians. And so it goes, prompting the secretary general of the ruling African National Congress to warn that South Africa is turning into a “mafia state.” Yet the A.N.C. steadfastly continues to declare full confidence in the president.
It is a shame that the A.N.C., the party of Nelson Mandela, is allowing its moral and political authority to be so grievously eroded by Mr. Zuma, instead of bringing his corrupt presidency to an end. But the national executive committee of the A.N.C. – which has dominated South African politics since the end of white minority rule in 1994 – is stacked with allies of the president, and evidently loath to take action against him in an election year.
Yet the need for action becomes more urgent with every new scandal. Mr. Zuma’s predecessor, Thabo Mbeki, fired him as his deputy after Mr. Zuma was implicated in a shady arms deal. Then Mr. Zuma was charged in the rape of a friend’s daughter, and later acquitted. In 2014, an independent inquiry found that Mr. Zuma had the government pay for lavish improvements to his home, but the president refused to refund any of the money, leading to the Constitutional Court ruling on Thursday.
Last December, Mr. Zuma abruptly replaced a respected finance minister with a political hack, leading to a national outcry that forced him to install a more acceptable choice. That scandal took a more serious turn when a government official revealed last month that members of the Gupta family had offered him the finance minister’s job, an offer he said he promptly refused. The Guptas and Mr. Zuma denied the accusations, but the scandal added to fears about the government’s management and further shook investors and credit rating agencies.
In its ruling, the Constitutional Court said that in refusing to pay back the millions spent on his home, Mr. Zuma had “failed to uphold, defend and respect the Constitution as the supreme law of the land.” That has been the story of Mr. Zuma’s leadership. The president of South Africa is elected by Parliament, with is dominated by the A.N.C., so a withdrawal of support by the A.N.C. national executive committee would be tantamount to a demand that Mr. Zuma resign. It’s time.