The South African Federation of Trade unions welcomes the ruling by the Constitutional Court – that Parliament failed to hold President Jacob Zuma accountable for spending taxpayers’ money upgrading his private Nkandla home.
Justice Chris Jafta said: ‘We conclude that the National Assembly did not hold the President to account as per the Constitution. It failed to perform its duty including its obligation to hold the President accountable”.
The court was responding to a case brought by the Economic Freedom Fighters, Congress of the People and the United Democratic Movement, who argued that Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete should have done more to investigate and possibly start impeachment proceedings against Zuma for the misuse of public funds at his Nkandla homestead and for his failure to implement former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s remedial actions.
This follows a ConCourt ruling in March 2016 that Zuma had failed to “uphold, defend and respect the Constitution” when he did not adhere to the remedial actions called for by Madonsela, who reported that the millions that went into upgrading Zuma’s Nkandla homestead had not all been rightfully used.
She found that Zuma had derived undue benefit from the security upgrades at his home with costs that exceeded R200 million and eventually included a swimming pool, cattle kraal and amphitheatre, all added to Zuma’s home at taxpayer’s cost.
In this Nkandla judgment the Court found that the president had failed to uphold‚ defend and respect the Constitution by failing to comply with the public protector’s remedial action.
Now Judge Jafta, in a majority verdict, said the court made a finding that the failure by the National Assembly to make rules regulating the removal of the president in terms of section 89 of the Constitution was invalid.
SAFTU demands that Parliament immediately takes action to comply with this ruling. There can be no more appeals against the highest court in the land.
The federation also calls on the ANC to act decisively against its former President, to remove him as President of the country, and to appoint a new National Director of Public Prosecutions, who will be able to open a case not only on the Nkandla issue but all the other charges of corruption which he faces.
SAFTU however warns that Zuma must not be singled out as the only culprit in these matters. All the other public officials, state-owned enterprise executives and their accomplices in the private sector who have been implicated in the Gupta emails, Jacques Pauw’s book and elsewhere must face the might of the law.
The promised Independent Inquiry into the former Public protector’s ‘State of Capture’ report must proceed without delay and be given the mandate, resources and terms of reference to investigate not only that report but all the other allegations of corruption, fraud, money-laundering and other crimes, which are continually being exposed.
SAFTU members will be joining other civil society and political parties at the gates of parliament when the President delivers his State of the Nation Address, to demand that he should be dismissed and brought before the courts.