Johannesburg – Public Protector Thuli Madonsela described in vivid detail the emotional roller coaster in her office during the reading of the Constitutional Court judgment by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng on Thursday.
"Everyone sat glued to the screen," she said.
"A needle could have dropped. When something was said, I could see people in the office lifting up their fists as a sign of 'Amandla' (power). There was a moment when there were tears," she said.
Madonsela was briefing the media following the ConCourt ruling that President Jacob Zuma had acted inconsistently with the constitution when he failed to comply with the public protector's remedial action on the upgrades to his home in Nkandla.
It also found that Madonsela's remedial action was binding.
Believes in our democracy
Madonsela said she was most impressed with Mogoeng's statement that the law was a sword that cuts the ugly head of impunity. She said she was even inspired to revisit her masters degree.
"The judgment is something many of us will cherish for the rest of our lives. I was partly listening to Chief Justice as a PP but partly listening to him as a person who is in the process of reclaiming my masters degree.
"What stood out for me is the statement that the law is a sword that cuts the ugly head of impunity. It was not the way he said it but how he said it.
"I could hear that he believed in our democracy..."
The ConCourt has ordered that Zuma personally pay back the money for some of the upgrades – an amount to be determined by the National Treasury. It also found that the National Assembly had acted incorrectly when it set aside Madonsela's report, among other things.