SA's Zuma 'breached' constitution, court rules

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's highest court has ruled that President Jacob Zuma violated the constitution when he failed to repay some of the government money used to upgrade his private home.

The treasury had 60 days to determine how much he should repay, it added.

The ruling is a victory for the opposition, which said it would push for Mr Zuma's impeachment.

It accused him of using "ill-gotten wealth" to upgrade his home with a swimming pool and amphitheatre.

Mr Zuma denied any wrongdoing. He has not yet commented on the ruling.

An anti-corruption body, known as the public protector, ruled in 2014 that $23m (£15m) had been spent on his rural home in Nkandla in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province.

Mr Zuma had "unduly benefited", and should repay a portion of the money, the public protector said.

In a unanimous judgement, the Constitutional Court said Mr Zuma's failure to heed the directive was "inconsistent" with the constitution.

"The president failed to uphold, defend and respect the constitution of the Republic," it added.

The case was brought by two opposition parties, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the Democratic Alliance (DA).

Mr Zuma's conduct constituted "grounds for impeachment", the DA said in its reaction to the judgement.

Comments (7)

African leaders go into power so they can live like Kings, misusing their countries' wealth and neglecting the masses who, in some cases, voted them into power. One hopes that South Africa continues to believe in the rule of LAW.

Dunlop Munjanja - 31 March 2016

Completely agree with you dunlop munjanja.its like once they in power it stops being about the people and it becomes all about them and their wants.

shaanice moffat - 31 March 2016

During the GNU [2008-2013] most ministers / members of parliament from both Zanu PF & MDC, CORRUPTLY miss used public funds meant for development. Absolutely nothing was done to any one of them even after a thorough audit discovered massive misappropriation of funds. This is our Zimbabwe, "CONDONING CORRUPTION". HAD THE LAW BEEN ALLOWED TO WORK, MOST LEGISLATORS / MINISTERS WERE SUPPOSED TO BE PERSECUTED AND POSSIBLY MADE TO PAY RESTITUTION. They all walked away for the issue was eventually swept under the carpet. A TRULY INDEPENDENT JUDICIARY IS WHAT WE NEED IN ZIMBABWE.

Icho - 1 April 2016

In Zimbabwe when one steals in one ministry one is moved to another. Again one wonders whether there are no other think tanks who can take up certain ministerial positions rather than recycling / rotating the same old people, some of whom after all are under performing or continuing to steal from public funds. For example, Cde Made is the only one who knows about farming in Zanu PF / the whole of Zimbabwe? Until recently Chombo was the only one good at Local government issues, the list is endless. Some of them have never known any other life except that of being in government since 1980. All because they were together in the liberation struggle or they are loyalists. Zanu PF you have killed Zimbabwe. Generally, OVER STAYING BREEDS UNDER PERFORMING.

Icho - 1 April 2016

A president like Zuma would not want to disrepect the constitution, the issue is he has advisers, and in any situation we have a case where even Bill Cliton without much intrspect into his contact with Monica Lewensky thought he had done no offence. Now for Zuma, there has been enquiry as to what funds are being used, he never bothered as it was not his business to even worry about the cost, as a humble human being, security features is the business of those protecting him. There been consideration that swimming pool was part of that, as such he was sitting in the comfort of those advises. We have African leaders who even against all advise from any quota never bothers to know. To ask for his removal is to say there is no error in presidency which over estimation of the presidency's knowledge. He may refund cost those considered not necessary. But he never asked for those either. It was the responsibility of those who mooted the security idea that these features be necessary. To err is human. Beside, I been listening to lot of comments coming through, the radio, ite either opposition of the white SA calling for ZUMA's head. meaning this is a political move and racial aspect. Which if ANC would bend to satisfy would be wrong. Allowing opposition to remove their president or to allow the same apartheid system they once defeated to call shoots in the name of democracy. where was the Constitution and Public Prosecutor and Courts when mascara of 1976 occurred or when Chris Hani was killed or such innocent people. ZUMA and ANC must stay in power. Currently white a practising racism in work places, why are they not removing their CEOs in companies alleged to be practicing such. CPTU, and other institutions of higher learning

amina - 1 April 2016

It's just the tip of the iceberg..These 'comrades' have been at it for time immemorial and hats off the constitutional court of SA for its 'bravery'. This is unheard of in some parts of Africa where corruption is rampant and no one is accountable. After paying back the 'loot' Zuma must resign if he is really 'apologetic'...

George - 1 April 2016

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