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ConCourt case on PP’s powers set for Tuesday next week

The Constitutional Court case looking into the powers of the Public Protector is set to go ahead next Tuesday (9 February). President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday proposed how he might go about paying back part of the money for non-security related features to his Nkandla home.

The Constitutional Court responded by saying that the parties should decide the issue among themselves. Just before the Court closed for the day, the Public Protector delivered her response in the form of a letter to the President’s lawyers. Public Protector Thuli Madonsela calls the proposal a “partial acceptance” of the remedial action.

This remedial action is contained in her report titled, “secure in comfort” on the Nkandla upgrades. The President proposed that the Auditor General and Finance Minister calculate the costs of the non-security upgrades, which include the chicken run, Amphitheatre, cattle kraal and swimming pool.

They must then determine a reasonable percentage of that amount that the President should pay.

President Zuma said that if the court were to accept his proposal, there would be no need for the upcoming hearing into the powers of the Public Protector. The Constitutional Court gave the parties until close of business on Friday to indicate if any agreement had been reached in this regard.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) were among the first to respond. EFF leader Julius Malema held a press conference on Thursday.

Malema said, “Our response to Jacob Zuma is clear and simple, we will not agree to any settlement that doesn’t reaffirm the powers of the Public Protector and remedial actions are binding and Zuma should agree in settlement that by failing to implement remedial action he was in breach of the constitution.”

The EFF delivered its own proposal to the Constitutional Court. The terms of this proposal largely mirror what Malema told the media.

Constitutional law expert, Professor Marinus Wiechers said it’s highly unlikely that President Zuma would agree to the EFF proposal.

Wiechers says, “If he say “yes, I didn’t follow the constitution, I broke the constitution” he’s up for impeachment clearly and definitely or he stands in danger of having a motion of non- confidence in Parliament then he’s out with his Cabinet, so he can’t reasonably. It cannot be foreseen that he will admit this contravention of the constitution, that would amount to sort of political suicide.”

EFF’s full press conference below:

– By Candice Nolan

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