#ConCourtJudgement: Zuma says sorry
President Jacob Zuma has apologised for the corruption and misuse of public funds in the upgrade to his Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal.
“(This) has caused a lot of frustration. For this I apologise on behalf of myself and government,” he said on Friday night.
In an address on live television, Zuma said he unreservedly welcomed a Constitutional Court judgment on Thursday that found that he and the National Assembly had failed in their duty to uphold the country’s Constitution.
He said that he respected the judgment and would abide by its ruling. This included that he pay back money for upgrades to his homestead that were not for security purposes.
“I have consistently stated that I’ll pay the amount… to the upgrades once this had been determined by the correct authority,” he said.
The president often repeated that he had not deliberately breached the Constitution.
He said that any action that was not in keeping with the Constitution was because of “different legal advice”.
“There was not attempt to subvert the Constitution on my part,” the president said.
He described the ruling as “ground breaking” with regards to the power of the Public Protector as it further strengthened the country’s constitutional democracy.
The matter ended up in the highest court in the land after years of resistance and obfuscation from Zuma and the ANC Parliamentary caucus.
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found that upgrades to Nkandla constituted an undue benefit to Zuma and his family. The costs of these upgrades, which included a swimming pool, a chicken run, an amphitheatre, and a visitor’s centre, should be paid back to the state by Zuma.
The Constitutional Court has ruled that the Treasury must determine what these costs are.
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