The country’s highest court is today expected to deliver the much anticipated verdict in the matter of the multimillion-rand upgrades to President Jacob Zuma’s private residence in Nkandla.
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has already found that some of the facilities part of the R246 million of taxpayers’ money was spent on were not security-related. She went on to recommend that Zuma repay a portion of the costs.
But Zuma has for years not complied with Madonsela’s recommendations. He claimed they were not mandatory, but rather “mere recommendations”. He dragged his feet and tried to replace the remedial action recommended by Madonsela with another by Police Minister Nathi Nhleko and parliament. After being dragged to court by Julius Malema’s EFF, Zuma made a surprise U-turn and expressed willingness to cough up.
We hope today’s judgment will provide final legal clarity on the powers of the office of the public protector. That there was corruption in the upgrades to Zuma’s home is not in dispute. We hope the court’s ruling ensures those who betray their mandate to uphold the constitution are made to pay.