South African President Jacob Zuma, slammed in yesterday’s Constitutional Court judgment. Is addressing the nation on his response. Alec Hogg reports live for the Biznews Community.
Here’s my take – Zuma has too much to lose, the stakes are too high, he simply cannot leave the office because when he goes the whole network of patronage will unravel. Malema nailed it earlier on Twitter – The Top Six asked him to resign and Zuma refused. Zuma is delusional, he believes he acted in good faith all along and simply took poor legal advice. South Africa’s binary options remain as real as they were before the Constituional Court judgment. Further challenges lie ahead.
Analyst Judith February on eNCA: “The ANC is deeply divided, The unravelling of President Zuma s going to take a long time. There was a lot of spin. This was vintage President Zuma. A very disappointing night, One can only hope that in the local government elections people will make their voices heard. It’s quite extraordinary that Zuma is trying to convince us that all along he wanted to work with the Public Protector. He was dismissive of her. There is a lot of sleight of hand in what we saw tonight. he is trying to once again convince the country he ought to be in office. His apology was saying it is not my fault and washing his hands of it, This is not somebody who will go quietly.”
IRR’s Frans Cronje quick off the mark – here’s his message from his cell phone: “The political importance of the Nkandla judgement has been overstated. The ANC will not permit external critics to determine who its leader is. This is somewhat understandable. Our considered view is that the Zuma exit is likely to be a far more orderly and less dramatic departure – staged over the next 18 months – than the sudden once off announcement some analysts anticipated for this evening. Our strong sense is that Mr Zuma will step-down shortly after the ANC’s December 2017 conference. This may open the way for a then relatively united ANC to contest the 2019 election on a possibly reformist platform. We are also of the view that analysts are reading too much into Mr Zuma’s future as a proxy for SA’s future. The crises confronting SA extend very much beyond Mr Zuma and have their origins in events that pre-date his coming to office. These crises are essentially economic in nature and will require reforms to labour, empowerment and property rights policy to address. It is moves in these three areas that will have a more definitive impact on South Africa’s future than whether Mr Zuma remains in office for the next 18 or so months.”
Mmusi Maimane on eNCA: “The President took to the podium to mislead South Africans today. I was in Parliament when he said he wouldn;t pay – now he says he always was going to. It is a completely hollow statement from a broken President. It is an insult to the people of South Africa, ”
Angelo Fick on eNCA: “Why should South Africans believe that Zuma, this time around, can be trusted?”
Malala: “The mood out there is ugly. The scene is set for a massive battle in Parliament. There is going to be a long period of instability.”
Rand weakens 10c in minutes after the Zuma speech. Traders hoping for a resignation, that Zuma would take the honourable route. They, and the people of South Africa, asked for too much.
Justice Malala on eNCA: “Zuma has missed a great opportunity. This is a whitewash and an attempt to blame everyone else.”
OK, so SA’s President says he apologises for “causing confusion” and making a mistake. He failed in his first and signal duty and he now says it was a mistake. He is unleashing forces that are sure t have unintended consequences.
Zuma’s closing words – Let us use the judgement to strengthen our democracy.
An apology at last: “The matter has caused a lot of confusion for which I apologise.”
Zuma is going nowhere. He says everything happened in good faith. “There was no intention to subvert the Constitution on my part.”
Now Zuma is pointing fingers at junior employees – blaming them for the inflation of the costs at Nkandla. Does he think nobody reads the Sunday Times?
Zuma: “There are lessons to be learned for all of us in Government that augur well for governance in the future. Nkandla brought into focus the problems in the State’s supply chain. Government is improving procurement measures to prevent any future recurrence.”
Zuma: “I did not act dishonestly. The intention was not in pursuit of corrupt ends or to use State resources to unduly benefit me or my family.”
Zuma keeps defending himself – claims his actions might have been contrary to the Constitution but his approach was based on the judgement of the Western Cape High Court and when that was overturned he set about to abide by the new ruling.
Zuma says “also respect finding that failure to comply with the remedial action taken against me is inconsistent with the Constitution” – but says “I never knowingly nor deliberately set out to violate the Constitution.”
Zuma is still justifying his actions – looks like he is entrenching himself. But the Rand is still strengthening…..
Getting down the nitty gritty now – Zuma defending his actions; stated his willingness to pay all along “Never my intention not to comply with the remedial action taken against me by the Public Protector or disrespect her office.”
Zuma says the remedial actions regarding the six features of Nkandla must be paid. I respect the judgement and will abide by it. I have consistently stated I will pay an amount once it has been determined.
Zuma: This Consittutional Court finding is a ground breaking judgement. The remedial actions of the Public Protector are binding.
18:37 From The Presidency: “President Jacob Zuma will this evening, at 19h00, address the nation on his response to the Constitutional Court Judgement on the security upgrades at his Nkandla residence.”