South Africa’s Constitutional Court has ordered President Jacob Zuma to repay money spent on non-security upgrades at his private residence in Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal Province, as recommended by the Public Protector (Ombudsman) in her 2014 Nkandla report.
The court said here Thursday that the non-security related features on which workd was done at the residence were limited to the amphitheatre, the swimming pool, cattle kraal, chicken run and visitors’ centre.
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, who issued a repayment timetable when delivering the Court order, said: “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, Thuli Madonsela, emphasising the obligation on the State to protect and respect this important public watchdog.
A unanimous Constitutional Court judgment was also critical of Zuma and the National Assembly’s (lower house of Parliament) 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.
Justice Mogoeng said: “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.”
Justice Mogoeng 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.”