The Democratic Alliance has called on President Jacob Zuma to act in the interest of justice, fairness and accountability and pay back 100% of the costs for non-security upgrades at his Nkandla homestead.
Treasury has until Tuesday to report back to the Constitutional Court on the amount that the president must pay back. Zuma was found to have failed to uphold, defend and respect the Constitution as the supreme law of the land after he failed to act on public protector Thuli Madonsela’s remedial action that he must pay back a portion of the money for the upgrades at his homestead.
See our timeline on Nkandla here.
“We maintain that a ‘reasonable percentage’ of the reasonable costs can only be 100%. In determining the reasonable percentage thereof that Zuma must pay, the national treasury must send a clear message to all public representatives that corruption will not be tolerated,” the DA said in a statement.
The party accused Zuma of not only having failed to take action to prevent the waste of public funds during the upgrades to his private residence, but said that in some instances he encouraged it.
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng confirmed that the public protector’s remedial action is binding and Zuma’s compliance is not optional. “No binding and constitutionally or statutory liaisons decision may be disregarded ‘willy-nilly’,” Mogoeng said at the time of ruling.
Treasury had to report back within 60 days of the Constitutional Court’s order, and Zuma will then have 45 days to settle the amount. The DA said that Zuma and his family had defrauded South Africans, and all those involved in the abuse of state resources at Nkandla must be brought to book.
The party also demanded that Minenhle Makhanya, the chief Nkandla architect of the homestead, pay back the more than R155-million used to inflate the cost of the “security upgrades” at Nkandla. The Special Investigating Unit found Makhanya to be responsible for these funds in a 2014 report.
Parliament had set up an ad hoc committee that saw opposition parties withdraw after a disagreement on whether Zuma should appear before the committee. The ad hoc committee’s final report said that Zuma is not liable to pay back any of the funds.
President Zuma also made submissions to Parliament and argued that he did not ask for the upgrades. Zuma has since apologised and offered to pay back a portion of the fees for upgrades at his homestead.
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