/ 9 February 2016

Nkandla Concourt case about more than money for EFF, DA

The Constitutional Court case about Nkandla is about more than getting President Jacob Zuma to repay taxpayer’s money, but about protecting the Constitution and public protector, political parties say.

The EFF, DA and the public protector, want the court to clarify the nature and extent of the chapter nine institution’s powers to take remedial action.

Legal certainty about the public protector’s powers is vital to a successful constitutional democracy, Democratic Alliance federal executive chairperson James Selfe said.

The Economic Freedom Fighters and DA want the court to compel Zuma to implement Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s recommendations and repay a reasonable part of the R246-million spent on so-called security upgrades to his Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal homestead.

On Tuesday morning, EFF leader Julius Malema would lead a “pay back the money” march starting at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown, and ending at the Constitutional Court, ahead of the hearing.

Irrational, illegal, and unconstitutional
The EFF and DA are applicants in the matter. Zuma, the National Assembly speaker, minister of police, and public protector are the respondents. Corruption Watch has joined as a friend of the court.

The DA, in a separate review application, would argue that Zuma’s failure to engage rationally with the public protector’s findings and remedial action pertaining to him was irrational, illegal, and unconstitutional.

The party would argue that Zuma’s decision to substitute the public protector’s remedial action with a report by Police Minister Nathi Nhleko, was illegal and unconstitutional.

Nhleko found that all the features installed at Nkandla were necessary for security and that Zuma was thus not liable to pay for any of them. These included the amphitheatre, cattle kraal, chicken run, visitor’s centre, and swimming pool.

The DA would further argue that the endorsement by Parliament’s Nkandla ad hoc committee of Nhleko’s report should be set aside.

Congress of the People spokesperson Dennis Bloem said the Constitutional Court matter was of pivotal importance to South Africa.

The role of chapter nine institutions
Though not a party to the case, Cope leaders would be at the court to show their support for chapter nine institutions and the public protector’s office.

“It has to do with the centrality of the Constitution in the governance of South Africa and the vital role of chapter nine institutions. The supremacy of the Constitution must remain intact and inviolable,” he said.

He encouraged civil society organisations to make their presence felt at the Constitutional Court.

Last Tuesday, Zuma sent a letter to the court’s registrar to suggest that it order the auditor general and finance minister to determine how much he should repay for the non-security features at his home in Nkandla.

The DA and EFF had rejected this proposal and wanted the matter heard in court. –News24