National Assembly acted incorrectly on Nkandla - ConCourt
The National Assembly erred in dismissing Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s recommendation that President Jacob Zuma repay a portion of the taxpayers’ money spent on security upgrades at Nkandla, the Constitutional Court ruled on Thursday.
“The resolution by the National Assembly absolving the president from compliance with the Public Protector’s remedial action is inconsistent with the Constitution, is invalid, and set aside,” Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng read from his unanimous judgment.
Mogoeng said a draft order Zuma circulated eight days before the case was heard in the Constitutional Court showed he accepted that the Public Protector’s remedial action was binding.
Mogoeng said the president was enjoined to take definite steps to determine how much Zuma should pay for the swimming pool, cattle kraal, chicken run, visitors’ centre, and amphitheatre built at Nkandla.
“The president failed to uphold, defend, and respect the Constitution,” he said.
Only a court of law could have set aside the Public Protector’s findings and remedial action.
Madonsela found in her report “Secure in Comfort”, released in March 2014,that Zuma unduly benefited from some of the upgrades. She recommended that he repay a reasonable portion of the R246m spent on the upgrades, and reprimand the minsters involved in the project.
Mogoeng found that Madonsela’s report, and one by Police Minister Nathi Nhleko absolving Zuma of liability, were “mutually destructive”.
“The judiciary should have been approached to ask the Public Protector’s findings to be set aside. Only then could the president have disregarded the Public Protector’s report and remedial action.”