Warren Mabona
2 minute read
12 Aug 2015
11:00 am

EFF can force Zuma to pay

Warren Mabona

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have launched a legal tussle that is likely to make President Jacob Zuma pay back some of the Nkandla money on constitutional grounds.

A general view of President Jacob Zuma's private Nkandla home. Picture: AFP PHOTO / Stringer

The Julius Malema-led movement filed an application in the Constitutional Court. The party seeks an order to make Zuma pay back some of the R246 million spent on the non-security upgrades at his Nkandla private home.

In the court application, dated August 4, and whose copy has been seen by The Citizen, National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete is listed as the first respondent.

Zuma is cited as a second respondent. The EFF argues in the papers parliament has failed to fulfil its obligations in accordance with the provisions of sections 55 (2) and 181 of the constitution to ensure Zuma complied with Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s findings and remedial action.

“President Zuma is directed to give effect and to comply with the remedial action contained in the Public Protector’s report within 30 days of the order of this court,” the application read in part.

“The purpose of this application is therefore to secure a declaratory order against Mr Zuma to the effect that he has failed to comply with a constitutional obligation vesting on him by virtue of his position as head of the national executive, in terms of sections 80 (b) and 181 of the Constitution.

“The Public Protector prescribed he must, with the help of the national treasury and the South African Police Service, determine the reasonable cost of the measure implemented by the public works department that do not relate to security. These include the visitors’ centre, amphitheatre, cattle kraal, chicken run and the swimming pool.”

Constitutional law expert Shadrack Gutto said the EFF has a strong case when citing various sections of the constitution, including section 181.

“The constitution is the law of the country. Any conduct that is not in compliance with the constitution is null and void,” said Gutto.

Acting presidency spokesperson Bongani Majola would neither confirm nor deny receipt of the application.

“If anybody has approached the court there are court processes to be followed and it is not for the president to comment,” he said Parliament’s ad hoc committee on Nkandla last month approved police Minister Nathi Nhleko’s report which absolved Zuma of any wrongdoing in the upgrades.

But the EFF argues in the papers the committee had no powers to alter or amend remedial action decided by the public protector.

EFF lawyer Luvuyo Godla said yesterday they were waiting for the court date. “We are confident he [Zuma] will be made to comply.” Mbete’s spokesperson Mandlakazi Sigcawu did not respond to questions sent to her office. – warren@citizen.co.za