President Jacob Zuma made a public announced late on Tuesday night that he is finally willing to pay back some of the funds spent on the renovation of his Nkandla home as will be determined by the Auditor General Thembekile Kimi Makwetu and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan through an order of the Constitutional Court.
In her reaction to president Zuma’s decision to pay back the Nkandla funds, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela gladly welcomed Zuma’s willingness to pay back the money even though it’s not clear when he will begin the payment.
While final decisions have not been made on the amount to be refunded, Madonsela said she had a meeting with her legal team on Wednesday to discuss Zuma’s surprise proposal.
Madonsela’s spokesperson, Kgalalelo Masibi, said there were, however, various issues mentioned in Zuma’s statement which she would like to consider with her office and legal team before taking an official stance on the matter. This meeting will straighten out things to avoid any confusion in the future.
“Out of respect for the Constitutional Court and the pending formal process, Madonsela does not wish to address the public on the substance of the matter before having formally responded to the proposal,” she stated.
The Auditor General Thembekile Kimi Makwetu and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan through an order of the Constitutional Court would be appointed to calculate the part of the cost of the multi-million rand upgrades at Nkandla not related to security.
“Once the exercise has been completed and a figure determined, the president has repeatedly indicated both before this court and before Parliament, that he is willing to be bound by the outcome of a fair and objective process,” his lawyers said in a letter lodged with the registrar of the court.
“He reiterated his willingness to repay any figure so determined,” his legal team said in the letter.
This is a noble decision by the president and will set a good example for others to learn from if only he will fulfill his promise to refund the money from the Nkandla project.