Zuma breached oath of office - De Vos

Cape Town - People were playing with semantics when they said President Jacob Zuma was found not to have broken his oath of office, Constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos said on Tuesday.

"By not upholding and protecting the Constitution as required by his oath of office, the president [is] found in breach of it," De Vos wrote on Twitter.

"Just because this was not included in the order does not mean the court did not find this. Not all findings [are] contained in the order made."

This followed the Presidency's asking the media to "report accurately” and use the Constitutional Court judgment’s exact words so it did not mislead the public.

"The Presidency wishes to correct media reports wrongly stating that the judgment by the Constitutional Court found that President Jacob Zuma had broken his oath of office," spokesperson Bongani Majola said in a statement.

"The Constitutional Court did not make such a declaratory order."

On Thursday, the Constitutional Court ruled that Zuma failed to uphold the Constitution when he did not comply with Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's remedial action regarding payment for the upgrades to his Nkandla homestead.

"The failure by the President to comply with the remedial action taken against him, by the Public Protector in her report of 19 March 2014, is inconsistent with section 83(b) of the Constitution read with sections 181(3) and 182(1)(c) of the Constitution and is invalid," the court said in its judgment.

It ruled that the National Assembly also failed to uphold the Constitution when it set aside Madonsela's report.

De Vos said to claim that the absence of an order meant there was no finding that Zuma breached his oath of office was an "untrue statement".

He said it was not for the Constitutional Court to decide whether violation of the Constitution was serious or not.

"It's for Parliament to decide whether failure of [the] president to stop his enrichment by [the] state that he was aware of, was serious."

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