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Constitutional Pledge: "I Will Pay Back The Money," Says SA President, Jacob Zuma

Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma‚ in a live televised address‚ told South Africans that he would respect the Constitutional Court’s verd...

Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma‚ in a live televised address‚ told South Africans that he would respect the Constitutional Court’s verdict that he should pay for upgrades to his Nkandla court‚ and that he had previously been willing to do so.

“It puts an end to any other interpretation of this matter.”

“This is a groundbreaking judgment with regard to the powers of the public protector‚” he said‚ thanking the court for providing clarity on Chapter 9 institutions.

“I respect the judgment and will abide by it. I will pay an amount towards the Nkandla non-security upgrades once this has been determined by the correct authority.”

He said he also had never intended to not honour the Public Protector’s remedial actions.
President Jacob Zuma Has Vowed To Pay Back Money To SA Government 

The Constitutional Court on Thursday ordered Zuma to personally pay the costs for the construction of a visitor’s centre‚ amphitheatre‚ cattle kraal‚ chicken run and swimming pool at his private Nkandla residence in KwaZulu-Natal.

The court also condemned the “illegality” of Zuma’s conduct in failing to comply with the remedial action set out by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela in her 2014 report titled “Secure in Comfort”.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng‚ delivering the Constitutional Court’s unanimous judgment in the Nkandla case‚ said the president failed in his constitutional obligation when he failed to assist the public protector by complying with her report.

Zuma was not in the position to simply ignore Madonsela’s findings and should also not have decided to have the issue investigated by police minister Nathi Nhleko.

“[Zuma] did not challenge the [public protector’s] report through a judicial process. He appears to have been content with the apparent vindication of his position by the [Police] Minister’s favourable recommendations and considered himself to have been lawfully absolved of liability‚” Mogoeng said.

In reaction to the judgment‚ the Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane reopened his party’s efforts to impeach the president in Parliament and Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema called for an early election‚ saying Zuma and the MPs who defended him had failed the electorate. 

The next general election is only scheduled for 2019.

Earlier on Friday‚ Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan told a news conference that a team of experts including quantity surveyors and lawyers would help the National Treasury determine the cost that President Zuma must pay back‚ as ordered by the Constitutional Court.

“I can assure South Africans the process will be transparent and professional‚” Gordhan said.

“Where appropriate I will consult with the public protector and any other stakeholders to help us... execute our mandate.”

The Treasury must report back to the court on this cost in 60 days and Zuma must “personally pay back” the money within 45 days following that report‚ according to the court order.

Meanwhile‚ Gordhan said his ministry would try to assist the Public Protector following her request to the Treasury for R3 million more funding‚ in particular to investigate increasing complaints her office has received regarding the Gupta family‚ who are accused of improper influence over government due to the close relationship with Zuma and his family. - Online Sources 

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