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At last, the cleansing of Nkandla

Publish date: 01 April 2016
Issue Number: 3961
Diary: Legalbrief Today
Category: Constitutional

In a seminal judgment that is a triumph for the rule of law, a template for decent governance, an affirmation of the Constitution, and proof – if it were needed – that the independence of the judiciary is in good hands, President Jacob Zuma has finally got his come-uppance on Nkandla, reports Legalbrief. In cahoots with the ‘yes men’ that populate Parliament and his executive, who together manipulated the law to absolve him of any duty to repay a cent of the millions spent on his private homestead at Nkandla, the Constitutional Court found Zuma, along with the National Assembly, to be in breach of the Constitution, which he – and its members – were under oath to uphold (see What the judgment found, below), and was ordered to abide by the Public Protector’s remedial action. The judgment, authored by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, and, in a departure from the norm, read out in its entirety before being handed down, was indeed, in the Chief Justice’s words, of ‘monumental importance to the people of this country’. For his part, Zuma, with calls for his resignation and impeachment ringing in his ears, says he has noted and respects the judgment, which also brought clarity to the Public Protectors’ powers. A government statement says: ‘The President appreciates and reaffirms the powers of the Constitutional Court as a final arbiter on matters of the Constitution … The President will reflect on the judgment and its implications on the state and government, and will, in consultation with other impacted institutions of state, determine the appropriate action.’

Economic Freedom Fighters v Speaker of the National Assembly and Others; Democratic Alliance v Speaker of the National Assembly and Others [2016] ZACC 11

Government statement

Parliament statement