Zuma apologises, offers to repay state funds
ANC backs him, as opposition vows removal
South Africa ruling African National Congress (ANC) yesterday said it has yet to turn on its leader, President Jacob Zuma, as its leaders meet to formulate a response to the constitutional court ruling, which held that he failed to uphold the law by ignoring instructions to pay back some of the $16 million in state funds spent on the renovations of his private property.
But the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) said it would push to impeach him following the court ruling.
Impeachment requires a two-thirds majority vote in a parliament where the ANC has a comfortable majority and has already defeated a no-confidence motion against Zuma this year.
Zuma yesterday apologised for the saga and offered to repay the funds once the amount involved is determined, insisting though that he did not act dishonestly.
The court also ruled on Thursday that parliament failed in its obligations by not holding Zuma to account in the spending scandal.
DA’s leader, Mmusi Maimane, said ANC lawmakers should act against Zuma, if their professed respect for the constitution is genuine.
“We cannot have Zuma and the constitution in one parliament. Both those things cannot co-exist,” Maimane told a news conference.
“Should parliament fail to remove Zuma, we will take all necessary actions that we need to take,” he added.
But in an address to the nation yesterday, Zuma said his response to a report by Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, a constitutionally mandated watchdog, ordering him to repay some of the money was “in good faith,” but based on unsound legal advice.
“I wish to emphasise that I never knowingly or deliberately set out to violate the constitution.”