Madonsela the 'Biblical David' that slayed the Nkandla giant - Chief Justice

(Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

(Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

The Constitutional Court has 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. 

“The failure by the president to comply with the remedial action taken against him by the public protector in her report… is inconsistent with Section 83b of the Constitution, read with sections 181.3 and 182.1c, and is invalid,” Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said. 

He 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.  

“The remedial action taken against those under investigation cannot be ignored without any legal consequences,” he said. 

“She [Madonsela] is 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 described the public protector as a “constitutional gift” to South Africa. 

The judgment relates to the non-security upgrades – paid for by the taxpayer – at President Jacob Zuma’s private home in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal.

The EFF and DA took Zuma and National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete to court after they failed to adhere to the remedial action Public Protector Thuli Madonsela set out following her investigation.

They wanted the court to clarify the powers of the public protector, and order Zuma to repay some of the R246 million spent on non-security items such as the swimming pool, initially called a “fire pool”, a chicken run, cattle kraal, amphitheatre, and visitors’ centre.

Before the matter was heard by the Constitutional Court in February, Zuma proposed that it appoint the auditor general and minister of finance to determine how much he should pay for certain upgrades to his homestead.

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