The Constitutional Court has been told that President Zuma violated the constitution when he failed to implement Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s recommendations on his Nkandla home.
Opposition parties leaders and Public Protector Thuli Madonsela filed out at the Constitutional Court where the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have filed two applications against President Jacob Zuma. The rival parties were in court to challenge Zuma’s initial failure to reimburse fund spent in upgrading his Nkandla home.
EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu, DA federal executive chairman James Selfe and United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa, were also seen in court.
Hearing the application, Economic Freedom Fighters Advocate Wim Trengove told a bench of 11 learned judges “this was a violation of the president’s ethical duties, we submit. The president violated his ethical duties by defying the Public Protector’s orders in order to protect his ill-gotten gains.”
“He defied her and used his position to enrich himself through an improper benefit…a violation of Section 96 of the Constitution.”
Economic Freedom Fighters Advocate Wim Trengove also opined that President Zuma deliberately flung away the recommendation to retain his ill-amassed wealth. Again, that he [Zuma] derailed from the constitution when he reiterated that Thuli Madonsela ‘s recommendations about his homestead were not binding.
Advocate Trengove also maintained in his speech that Thuli’s recommendations are very exclusive and important. Hence, the need to be adhered to by all and sundry. Trengrove said, “It is important not only for this case but for the effectiveness of the public protector that she makes binding orders be realized.”
“All of us are bound by the Constitution, but there is a special and heightened duty by the president to uphold, defend and respect the Constitution and other laws of the country.”
Also, advocate Trengove surmised that the president augmented his home with some luxuries, which she said violates the law. On the other hand, she argued that it is simply unlawful for certain bodies to determine the financial status of President Zuma on his Nkandla home without authorized permission.
Reports said that the National Assembly and the special ad hoc committee respectively drafted and rubber-stamped a report by the police minister Nathi Nhleko. According to the report, President Zuma was not owing a cent regarding his home upgrades and other luxuries added to his home were essential for security.
“The ad hoc committee allocated itself the power to sit in judgment of the Public Protector,” Trengrove argued.
“All of that is unlawful, they did not do what they had to do, which is hold the president to account.”
While the case lasted, Thuli Madonsela and public advocacy organisation Corruption Watch were also seen in court. They were admitted in the case as friends of the court.
In 2014, Madonsela’s findings into the upgrades at Zuma’s Nkandla homestead showed that some of the features such as the chicken run, swimming pool, and cattle kraal were non-security features and as such, she recommended remedial action. The remedial action stipulated that President Zuma, with the assistance of the ministers of police and finance, determine the costs of those features and reimburse some portion of the money to the State.