Concourt set to pronounce on Nkandla – could spark Zuma’s impeachment

South Africa’s Constitutional Court tomorrow hands down a judgment which could lead to the impeachment of President Jacob Zuma. It is set to rule on a complaint that during the furore over Nkandla, Zuma failed to fulfil his constitutional duties, thus breaking his oath of office. That is a fireable offence for a President in a Constitutional Democracy.

The back story is equally interesting. Last year Zuma giggled at demands to comply with Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s finding he must repay a chunk of the R246m spent on “security upgrades” at his Nkandla homestead. A subsequent whitewash by the Minister of Police supported Zuma’s assertion that he owed nothing – even on the cattle kraal, visitor’s centre, chicken run, amphitheatre and even the swimming pool.

But the story goes that after the EFF and DA gave the matter to the Concourt, Zuma’s allies began to sweat. Talk on the street is the Gupta family, worried about the Pandora’s Box the case could open, gave Zuma R120m to settle it. That plus a promise of support from the tenderpreneur “Friends of Jacob Zuma” were apparently the reason for a surprise turnabout earlier this year when advocate Jeremy Gauntlett told the court the President was now prepared to pay up.

Zuma’s giggles have stopped. For him, it has now become deadly serious. Tomorrow’s Concourt judgement is a potential watershed. If Zuma did indeed break his oath of office as COPE leader Mosiuoa Lekota claimed in Parliament, then we will receive proof that in SA’s Constitutional Democracy, the judiciary trumps politicians – even the one occupying the highest office in the land.

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