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.”

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  • It is disheartening that what Mbeki foresaw when he tried to stop Zuma from ruling South Africa is playing out in slow motion. Zuma has come to represent the anti climax of the expectations of the nascent South Africa. Anyone who have followed this debacle already know that Zuma is past redemption. If South Africans are not embarrassed by his antecedents, they should ask around.

    It will be recalled that the ANC did not hesitate to recall Mbeki, when they thought he “overreached” his authority. Zuma deserves to be recalled to save the illustrious party from becoming a caricature of what it stands for. Anything less than that will prolong the comedy. And spectators will be cheering.

  • AZZO

    My dear President, “ignorance of the law is no excuse for violating the law”. You are as guilty as charged. Unfortunately the courts did not state what punitive measures should be taken against this constitutional infraction by yourself who holds such an exalted position as the custodian of the constitution. Perhaps the DA should return to the courts and ask this. But I think the excuse of not deliberately violating the constitution is a non-tenable excuse.