ConCourt lessons for Zuma: How to be presidential
The Constitutional Court today not only ordered President Jacob Zuma to pay back the money spent on non-security upgrades at Nkandla, but also schooled him on presidential behaviour.
Some presidential tips from Chief Justice Mogoeng, taken from the judgment:
- The President should never never forget that he has the constitutional obligation to uphold, defend and respect the Constitution as the supreme law of the Republic has been expressly imposed.
- Always keep in mind that the entire country has entrusted you with executive authority. National legislation is in your hands and you give the final stamp of approval – so you cannot be the one flouting the laws of the land.
- Mr President you are a constitutional being by design, a national pathfinder, the quintessential commander-in-chief of State affairs and the personification of this nation’s constitutional project.
- And you have to ensure that our constitutional democracy thrives.
- Mr President you failed and were hence weren’t presidential when you did not comply with the remedial action ascribed by the Public Protector in her report of 19 March 2014.
- In this you were inconsistent with your duty to uphold, defend and respect the Constitution as the supreme law of the Republic.
- Your disregard for the remedial action taken against you does seem to amount to a breach of your constitutional obligation.
- Mr President it thus ill-behoves you to have acted in any manner inconsistent with what the Constitution requires you under all circumstances.
- The President is expected to endure graciously and admirably and fulfill all obligations imposed on you, however unpleasant.
- When the Public Protector acted it was not against the Executive or State organs in general, but against you, Mr President.
- Compliance was required only from you, Mr President.
- You were the subject of the investigation and the primary beneficiary of the non-security upgrades and thus the only one required to meet the demands of the constitutionally sourced remedial action.