Nkandla: 11 ConCourt orders handed down

2016-03-31 16:10
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PICS: Inside the ConCourt on Zuma's judgment day

View pics of all the action that went down inside the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg during the Nkandla judgment.

Johannesburg - The Constitutional Court on Thursday handed down a precedent-setting judgment that both President Jacob Zuma and the National Assembly were in breach of their constitutional obligations in the Nkandla matter.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng read out the 53-page unanimous judgment on the applications lodged by the EFF and the DA.

Eleven orders were made:

- The court has exclusive jurisdiction to hear the application by the EFF

The EFF approached the court in a bid to have Zuma comply with Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s remedial action that he repay the money spent on those Nkandla upgrades not needed for his security.

Mogoeng said conditions for the exercise of the court’s exclusive jurisdiction had been met.

"I conclude that the EFF has made out a case that the president’s alleged failure to comply with the remedial action, coupled with the failure to uphold the Constitution, relate to constitutional obligations imposed specifically on him," he said.

The Constitutional Court, as the highest court in the land, also had exclusive jurisdiction as it related to the National Assembly.

- The DA's application for direct access is granted

Mogoeng allowed the DA's application for access because it was similar to the EFF’s. The issues involved were extremely sensitive and of “high political importance”.

- The public protector’s findings against Zuma are binding in terms of the Constitution

Mogoeng said it was unlikely that those the public protector investigated would welcome unpleasant findings or "biting" remedial action.

"If compliance with remedial action taken were optional, then very few culprits, if any at all, would allow it to have any effect. And if it were, by design, never to have a binding effect, then it is incomprehensible just how the public protector could ever be effective in what she does and be able to contribute to the strengthening of our constitutional democracy."

He said the National Assembly was entitled to inquire into the correctness of the public protector’s findings and remedial action before it could hold the president accountable, but not in a way which undermined or trumped her mandate.

Mogoeng said the correct route would have been to challenge the Public Protector's report in court.

- Zuma’s failure to comply with the public protector’s remedial action is inconsistent with the Constitution and invalid

Zuma failed in his obligations to uphold, defend and respect the Constitution as the supreme law of the land. He failed in his duty to help and protect the public protector’s office to ensure its independence, impartiality, dignity and effectiveness.

- The National Assembly’s absolving Zuma from compliance with the public protector’s remedial action is invalid and set aside

"The National Assembly was duty-bound to hold the president accountable by facilitating and ensuring compliance with the decision of the public protector," Mogoeng said.

The National Assembly, like Zuma, could have genuinely believed that it was entitled to second-guess the remedial action.

"But, that still does not affect the unlawfulness of its preferred course of action."

- The president must reprimand the ministers involved

In a draft order submitted to the court before the hearing in February, Zuma said he was willing to reprimand ministers, in line with the public protector’s remedial action.

- Zuma must pay back the money (4 orders)

The Constitutional Court made four orders relating to the repayment of some of the R246m spent on non-security upgrades at Nkandla.

Firstly, National Treasury had to determine the reasonable cost of those features; namely the swimming pool, chicken run, cattle kraal, amphitheatre, and vistors’ centre.

Secondly, it had to determine how much of this amount Zuma should pay.

Treasury then had 60 days to report back to the court with its findings.

Finally, Zuma then had 45 days to pay back the money.

- Zuma, the National Assembly, and police minister had to pay the costs of the application, including the costs of two counsel.

Read more on:    anc  |  jacob zuma  |  mogoeng mogoeng  |  thuli madonsela  |  nkandla upgrade  |  politics

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