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Zuma concedes on need to repay home upgrade costs, lawyer says

Home improvements included amphitheatre and swimming pool.
President Jacob Zuma

President Jacob Zuma is ready to pay back some of the state funds used to upgrade his private home, his lawyer said, as he urged South Africa’s highest court not to issue any ruling that opposition parties could exploit for political gain.

“This is a delicate time in a dangerous year,” the president’s lawyer, Jeremy Gauntlett, told the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg on Tuesday. While the opposition Democratic Alliance and Economic Freedom Fighters parties may try to bring impeachment proceedings against Zuma, “it would be wrong that this court be put in a position to make some wide order which can be used.”

Gauntlett spoke as the court considered a lawsuit by the DA and the EFF seeking to obtain a ruling that Zuma violated South Africa’s constitution by failing to obey a finding by the nation’s graft ombudsman, the Public Protector, that he repay some of state funds spent on upgrading his home. During the hearing, thousands of protesters outside the chamber chanted “pay back the money.”

The case has focused national attention on the spending of R215.9 million ($13.4 million) of taxpayers’ money to upgrade Zuma’s home in Nkandla in eastern KwaZulu-Natal province, including on building an amphitheater, cattle and chicken enclosures and a swimming pool. The hearing takes place two days before Zuma gives his state-of-the-nation speech, which the EFF has threatened to disrupt for a second year.

The two main opposition parties are trying to step up pressure on Zuma and his African National Congress as they bid to challenge the ruling party in some of South Africa’s main cities in local elections scheduled between May and August.

“We submit that the president defied the Public Protector’s orders and his defiance violated the constitution,” Wim Trengrove, the EFF’s lawyer, said. “The National Assembly has the power to hold the president accountable and it failed to do so, and so it failed in that constitutional duty. Both the president and the National Assembly failed in their constitutional duty.”

Gauntlett told the court that the president accepted that the Public Protector’s recommendations must be carried out.

“We accept that she wasn’t just making a recommendation but wanted something done,” he said. “Our stance is that it’s action we must take.”

Zuma has said he never requested the upgrade and the police minister found that the renovations were security-related.

“There’s been an abuse of public resources at an extraordinary scale by one person in a country where people can’t afford housing, health care and basic necessities,” the lawyer for the DA, Anton Katz, told the court. “It’s a breakdown of the rule of law. There’s a rule of man and a rule of law and this case is a clear example of the rule of man.”

©2016 Bloomberg News

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If he can’t cover the full upgrade cost (minus genuine security improvements) he should be imprisoned

The solution now is for the ANC to recall Zuma to avoid impeachment processes. He is now not credible to deliver the SONA on Thursday 11th February. Time to fall on your sword to save your honour.

Honour – not a word the ANC ascribe to – or understand for that matter!

Surely this is grounds for impeachment? Not only did his ministers employ public funds in a clearly illegal and shockingly wasteful manner but then they tried to cover it all up and ‘lied and denied’ until they were blue in the face, dragging the Public Protectors name through the mud in the process. What a shameful display of dishonesty. This man doesn’t have a moral bone in his body.

Its is not only Zuma. It is some of this ministers too, and it is also parliament that backed him unconditionally. They have abused the trust of the population, they have misused money which is entrusted to the government and they assisted each other to enrich one or more of themselves. Theft by any other euphemism remains theft. Parliament should be dissolved, elections called, Zuma should be impeached and criminal cases should be fast tracked in the courts to place those responsible in jail prior to the next elections.

Soap opera at its best …………..eagerly await next episode . LOL

Perhaps Zuma will fire a few ministers and blame them and will live on to serve yet a third and fourth etc etc term as President of SA despite the constitution saying he can only serve two terms. He only needs a few votes to overturn the constitution (a situation possibly easily bought with his son’s business partners money) and you must admit that in Africa a dysfunctional corrupt broken state (as is South Africa) is no reason to fire a President or his cabinet. The Rand could maybe be closer to further collapse than we think?

What is absolutely astonishing is that not once (to my knowledge) did JZ or his cronies in crime try to seek legal council re the Nkandla report’s findings to ascertain the binding legality of it. One would expect them to have an above average understanding of the constitution. Now two years later it is being brandied around that their actions could be construed as an “error in law”?!! They rather tried every trick in the book to protect JZ from having to “pay back the money”!

I wonder where he would get the money (a couple of million?) to pay back with, assuming it does not come from somewhere in the states coffers. I think he should be investigated to determine where these funds would come from, if not from a Gupta friend!

Impeachment proceedings should start with immediate effect!

Gauntlett, Gauntlett, Gauntlett …..

Is this the same Gauntlett that wants to be a Judge…..

“the pillars will fall”

End of comments.

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