SA disappointed by Zuma's apology speech

2016-04-01 21:45
(SABC News)

(SABC News)

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Johannesburg – Some politicians and prominent figures, who were expecting President Jacob Zuma to resign, were left disappointed on Friday when he all he did was use the live television broadcast to apologise for the Nkandla funds debacle.

"Champagne back in fridge. Time for the hard stuff. History will judge this man harshly #Zuma", columnist Max Du Preez tweeted shortly after Zuma concluded his speech. 

Western Cape leader and former DA leader Helen Zille tweeted: "He's not going anywhere."

Her party issued a statement saying Zuma's speech was proof that he had no idea what the Constitution required of him or how South Africans viewed him. The DA said the ANC had failed the nation. 

"Jacob Zuma is the cancer at the heart of South African politics; he is not capable of honourable conduct and cannot continue to be president of our country," the DA said, adding that it intended to continue to push for Zuma's impeachment.

Former union federation Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said he wasn't surprised that Zuma hadn't opted to step down.  

"Anyone who for a minute thought #Zuma can ever act in the best interests of South Africa, other than for his family and friends, has not understood the man," Vavi said. 

When Zuma's office suddenly said that he would make an announcement on Friday evening some had anticipated that he would throw in the towel.

The announcement came after the Constitutional Court ruled on Thursday that Zuma and the National Assembly had defied the Constitution when they chose to set aside Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's report following her probe into security upgrades at Zuma's Nkandla home. 

Madonsela found that not all the upgrades – worth millions of rands – were linked to the president's security.

She found that Zuma and his family had unduly benefited when some of the money was used to build a visitor's centre, an amphitheatre, chicken run, cattle kraal and swimming pool, among other things. 

But Zuma rejected Madonsela's report, claiming that he was not liable to pay back any of the funds.

The National Assembly established an ad hoc committee that produced two reports, both of  which exonerated Zuma and stated that he did not have to pay back any of the money. 

Seeking clarity

Opposition parties took Zuma and the National Assembly to the Constitutional Court, seeking clarity on whether Zuma could simply ignore the public protector's report.  

A few days before the matter was to be heard, Zuma issued a statement in which he said he would adhere to the public protector's report and pay back the funds.

On Friday, Zuma said he unreservedly accepted the court's judgment.

He said he had not deliberately violated the Constitution and never meant any disrespect to Madonsela's office. 

But the EFF's Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said this was not an excuse.

"If u kill someone, u are guilty & must serve time in prison, even if u did not intend to kill them. Zuma insults the intelligence of Mzansi," Ndlozi tweeted. 

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Witwatersrand Adam Habib tweeted that Zuma's speech was pointless. 

"Zuma's speech: strategic blunder. If he wasn't resigning he should not have addressed the nation. The speech will inflame not defuse crisis," he said. 

The Inkatha Freedom Party agreed. 

"It is hardly newsworthy that the president has agreed to abide by the order of the Constitutional Court and pay for the non-security upgrades at his home. There is no room for his agreement or disagreement. The ruling of the Constitutional Court stands irrespective of whether he accepts it or not," the party said.

"At the very least South Africa deserved an unreserved apology, without a lengthy explanation of why the president feels he has at no point done anything wrong... The IFP is deeply disappointed."

The IFP said the country deserved more than what Zuma offered, adding that it did not believe Zuma spoke in good faith. 

"While he regrets the confusion and frustration this matter has caused, he has offered no apology for the exorbitant costs of litigation, establishing committees, in loco site inspections and the many other unnecessary aspects incurred during this debacle."

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  nkandla upgrade  |  social networks

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