As the Nkandla Issues gets proper hearing today, President Jacob Zuma’s lawyers told the constitutional Court that the president has accepted the bindings of the Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.
President Zuma’s lawyer, Jeremy Gauntlett said that the president has conceded on his need to refund the taxpayers for a portion of the upgrades to his private homestead,
This, he said at the court after the lawyers standing in for the Economic Freedom Fighters and the Democratic Alliance argued on how the president had ridged the law by evading his payments.
Speaking for the defendant, Gauntlett said Zuma never relied on the controversial report tabled by the Police Minister Nathi Nhleko which stated that he did not owe the state a scent for luxuries added to his house, notably a swimming pool and cattle kraal. “It was irrelevant and Zuma now had to comply with Madonsela,” he said.
“We say we accept that the president is required to carry out remedial action. The Public Protector’s report has to be complied with,” he told the court.”
Having conceded to the fact laid by the public protector, chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng asked what part of the EFF and DA’s arguments the president did not agree with and in reply, Gauntlett said he wanted the court to address the recurring “flirtation” in the arguments of both the EFF and the DA as well as in the reports of Madonsela’s lawyer stating the benefits that accrued to the president went well beyond the five items Madonsela flagged as non-security items.
Meanwhile, Gauntlett has revealed that by conceding his errors against the Public protector, the president could have given room for opposition parties to call for his impeachment.
Speaking to the eleven justices who are hearing the two applications on whether Zuma’s refusal to comply with the remedial action set out by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela on “security upgrades” to Zuma’s Nkandla homestead constituted a breach of constitutional duties by both Zuma and the National Assembly, Gauntlett said:
“This is a delicate time in a dangerous year,”
“It will be wrong if this this court makes a ruling which may result in a call for impeachment. The DA and EFF may try to impeach. Some have argued that the president was defiant…but it was an error in law.”