Zuma Must Pay Back Money: Constitutional Court

The Constitutional Court says that President Jacob Zuma must pay back money related to the non-security upgrades at his private residence in Nkandla.

This is in terms of the recommendations by the Public Protector in her 2014 Nkandla report.

The court says that the non-security related features are limited to the amphitheatre, the pool, cattle kraal, chicken run and visitors’ centre.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng issued a payment timetable. “The National Treasury must report back to this court on the outcome of its determination within 60 days of the date of this order.”

“The president must personally pay the amount determined by the National Treasury within 45 days of this court’s signification of its approval of the report that is the report by the national treasury.”

The Constitutional Court has also affirmed the powers of the Public Protector, emphasising the obligation on the state to protect and respect this important public watchdog.

She is the embodiment of the biblical David who fights the most powerful

A unanimous Constitutional Court judgment was also critical of Zuma and the National Assembly’s handling of the Public Protector’s Nkandla report.

According the court, it is not open for anyone to second guess the Public Protector’s remedial action.

Mogoeng says, “She is the embodiment of the biblical David who fights the most powerful and very well resourced Goliath, that is impropriety and corruption by government officials.”

“The office of the Public Protector is one of the true crusaders and champions of anti-corruption and clean governance hers are indeed very wide powers that leave no lever of government powers above scrutiny.”

The Justice also slammed the National Assembly for failing to execute its constitutional obligations.

“The failure by the National Assembly to hold the President accountable  by ensuring that he complies with its obligation to scrutinize and oversee executive action and to maintain oversight of the executive powers by the president  and to give attention to or intervene by facilitating compliance with remedial action.”