Bloemfontein - The National Assembly has the final say on
the public protector's report about the upgrades to President Jacob Zuma
at Nkandla, in KwaZulu-Natal, constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos said on
"It would be very difficult for a court to force the
president to do more now," De Vos replied to a question about what more
could be done to compel Zuma to give an immediate, substantial response to the
He said a court would have difficulty, especially after
the president had said he had some sort of explanation and was awaiting further
information before reacting to the report.
"It is now more of a political issue than a legal
De Vos said that until now, although Zuma had followed
the Executive Members' Ethics Act to the letter, he had not complied with its
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela recently found that Zuma
and his family unduly benefited from the R246m upgrades made to Nkandla.
"It is common cause that in the name of security, government
built for the president and his family in his private [home], a visitors'
centre, cattle kraal and chicken run, swimming pool, and amphitheatre among
others," Madonsela said in the report.
She gave Zuma two weeks to give Parliament his response to
the report, which meant Wednesday was the deadline.
Zuma did so, but not in substance.
The presidency said he told Parliament he would
"further report" on "decisive executive interventions" on
his private Nkandla home.
This would be after a report by the Special Investigating
Unit, which he had directed to probe the security upgrades at Nkandla.
De Vos said Zuma should account now to the National
It was the only body which could hold the president
accountable in terms of the protector's report, and it could do so via many
It could get Zuma to address MPs to give his explanation
about his involvement in the Nkandla upgrades.
It could also hold Zuma politically accountable.
"In the extreme case it could hold the president
accountable by firing the president," said De Vos.
Practically, this would require a decision by the ANC's
national executive committee.
De Vos said parties should be careful about involving a
court in a political issue.
Politics should be sorted out in the political area, he
The protector's office has also said the report is now in
the hands of Parliament, to act on through its own internal processes.
"It is for Parliament to review the appropriateness
of his [Zuma's] response," said spokesperson Kgalalelo Masibi.