The Constitutional Court has called on President Zuma and the opposition parties to bury the hatchet over the Nkandala payment, or face appearance in court next week Tuesday.
The supreme court has also given the warring factions until 4.00 pm on Friday to make peace, else, the court will go ahead with complaints tabled before it against President Zuma.
This statement was issued by Constitutional court registrar. The Economic Freedom Fighters and the Democratic Alliance had taken president Zuma to court following his earlier refusal not to pay back the money he used to renovate his Nkandla private home. The president on his part, had repeatedly said that he will not pay for the home upgrades.
We will recall that in 2014, Thuli Nomkhosi, a South African advocate and Public Protector released a report titled “Secure in Comfort”, proposing that the president take part in funding the R246m spent in upgrading his home. She said the amount should be determined by National Treasury and the police. However, the president seemed to have taken the opposite side of her recommendation when he repeatedly said he would not “pay back the money”.
Zuma’s refusal did not go down with the Economic Freedom Fighters and the Democratic Alliance, who dragged him to the Constitutional Court. They were set to compel the president to comply with Thuli Nomkhosi’s recommendations.
Be that as it may, the president has finally agreed to pay back the money. This, he believes will “assist in ensuring expeditious finalization”. Zuma in his letter to the registrar of the court, ordered the finance minister together with the auditor general, to decide how much he would pay for the multi-million rand upgrades to non-security features at his home in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal.
The president said this in a letter sent through his lawyer. The letter reads in part, “The president proposes that designated appointees… be appointed within 30 days of date of order to determine the reasonable portion of the reasonable cost of those features of the Nkandla upgrade project not reasonably related to security.”
However, the opposition parties described Zuma’s belated acceptance to pay back as “laughable” and “carefully non-specific”. They insinuated that the president offered to pay back the money because of the upcoming local government election. And also to spare himself embarrassment at the State of the Nation Address (SONA), if he loses at the constitutional court next week Tuesday.
Zuma had been interrupted by the Economic Freedom Fighters at previous Sona meetings. EFF members were seen chanting “pay back the money” at the president. This later led to a rowdy meeting. Many insinuated that Zuma is not ready to take it from EFF again. Hence, his sudden acceptance to pay back for Nkandla upgrades.
Some time ago, the National Assembly adopted the findings of an ad hoc committee, who investigated the president’s involvement in paying part of millions of rand spent in upgrading non-security features such as swimming pool, cattle kraal, visitor’s centre and amphitheatre in his Nkandla home. The committee found out that Zuma never paid a cent on the upgrades in his home.