EFF marchers arrive at Concourt

2016-02-09 15:03
(Jeff Wicks, News24)

(Jeff Wicks, News24)

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Johannesburg - The roars of EFF supporters broke through the solemnity of advocate Gilbert Marcus's argument in the Constitutional Court for Public Protector Thuli Madonsela who has come under fire over her report on the cost of improvements to President Jacob Zuma's home in Nkandla.

Earlier, police had unrolled barbed wire and blocked closer access to the court by the Economic Freedom Fighters supporters who had marched from Newtown in Johannesburg, through to the court in Braamfontein.

The volume of the whistles and roars of supporters outside grew as the judges grappled with submissions on the powers of the public protector.

The group of hundreds of people had carried red and white posters and climbed to the top of the retaining walls of the hilltop court, chanting ''pay back the money'', while a small group of DA supporters in their bright blue T-shirts waited at a distance.

Marcus, for Madonsela, told the judges that the public protector's efforts should not be undermined as this would make her institution "toothless".
He said that whether or not Zuma's actions were in good faith was a ''red herring''.

''It is no part of the protector's argument that the president acted in bad faith,'' he said.

One can assume that he acted in good faith, but the protector believes he erred in law, submitted Marcus.

In his report to Parliament on April 2 2014, he says the ministers in the security cluster were instructed to launch a full investigation. He said the investigations by the ministers and the public protector started a ''parallel process''.

Minister of police, Cabinet

Then the president summarised a number of reports he received and he stated he deemed it appropriate for the minister of police to report to Cabinet on a determination whether he is liable for any contribution towards the security upgrades.

The public protector responded by saying that she found it difficult to understand why this was deemed as appropriate.

The only report making a finding that he and his family improperly benefited from some of the improvements was her report issued on March 19.

She said the only remedial action was her report and that his decision to involve the minister of police gave him power he does not have.

Her reports could only be judicially reviewed and set aside by law.

Marcus said the president himself could not be clearer in his response where he says he ''must respectfully disagree with your assertion''.

Outside the court, EFF leader Julius Malema said: "All we wanted was to get the president, the head of the executive to be accountable. That's all we are doing. We have no problem with the man, we have a problem with everyone who is not compliant with the Constitution of the Republic of SA."

The EFF, DA, and the public protector, want the court to clarify the nature and extent of the Chapter Nine institution’s powers to take remedial action.

Earlier, Wim Trengove, counsel for the EFF, said that the respondents, National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete and Zuma had unconstitutionally ignored the Protector's findings.

Corruption Watch is also part of the case as a friend of the court.

Read more on:    anc  |  eff  |  jacob zuma  |  thuli madonsela  |  bloemfontein  |  nkandla upgrade

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