It's laughable that Zuma now wants to pay - DA

By Drum Digital
03 February 2016

 It is laughable that President Jacob Zuma has suddenly decided to pay for the upgrades to his Nkandla homestead, DA leader Mmusi Maimane said on Wednesday.

He said Zuma's announcement that the finance minister and auditor general would determine the amount he had to pay, came after he said on several occasions in Parliament that he would not pay back the money.

“President Jacob Zuma stood here in Parliament and told the people of South Africa that 'I won’t pay back the money'. He laughed off the matter when we asked the question in Parliament," Maimane said.

"President Zuma is not above the Constitution and he must personally account for it. His head of arguments in the... [Constitutional Court] says he always intended to pay, but that is the exact opposite of what he had said. And now for him to stand in front of the country and say he was intending to pay is quite simply laughable."

Maimane said the timing of Zuma's announcement was suspect, and the president was responding to the political climate, and the upcoming local government elections.

The Economic Freedom Fighters had taken their bid to have Zuma repay the money to the Constitutional Court. It was expected to hear the matter on Tuesday, February 9. The DA and public protector have joined the court action.

Maimane said Zuma became aware that if he lost the upcoming Constitutional Court case, he would have to face the embarrassment of the State of the Nation Address and having a court demand that he pay back the money.

Maimane said the party decided to proceed with presenting their heads of argument in the Constitutional Court on Tuesday after getting advice from their legal team.

"We are confident that the Constitutional Court will bring the Nkandla matter to its logical conclusion by determining that President Zuma do what the "Secure in Comfort" report by the public protector ordered, which is that he pay back a reasonable percentage of the costs of the non security upgrades to his private residence".

Maimane said the DA would argue that Zuma's failure to engage rationally with the public protector’s findings and remedial action pertaining to him was manifestly irrational, illegal and unconstitutional.

"We furthermore contend that the president’s decision to substitute the remedial action ordered by the Public Protector with a determination by the Police Minister, SIU [Special Investigating Unit] or Parliament on whether he was liable for any of the costs was illegal and unconstitutional," he said.

Source: News24

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