Public Protector Thuli Madonsela is consulting with her legal team before issuing a response to President Jacob Zuma’s proposal to pay back some of the money spent on the upgrades at his Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal.
“The public protector needs to consider what was said [by Zuma] and consult with the legal team that had been helping her with the Constitutional Court case to be heard on Tuesday next week. We will issue a detailed response by midday today,” spokesperson Oupa Segalwe said on Wednesday morning.
On Tuesday night, the presidency said Zuma proposed in a letter sent to the registrar of the Constitutional Court that it order the finance minister and Auditor-General to determine an appropriate amount to be refunded.
Madonsela’s 2014 report on Nkandla, titled “Secure in Comfort”, has seen, until Tuesday night, Zuma defy opposition calls to comply with her directive that he cover a reasonable amount of the cost — to be determined by National Treasury with the assistance of the police service — for upgrades that did not relate to security.
Zuma’s offer comes a week before the court is due to hear the case brought by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the Democratic Alliance (DA) who accuse the President of flouting the law by failing to heed Mandonsela’s directive that he refund the state for luxuries added to his home.
The matter is set down for February 9, two days before Zuma will deliver his State of the Nation address in Parliament. Madonsela was allowed by the court to join the case as friend of the court.
She had argued that the outcome of the case would affect her directly and that she needed to be part of it.
Madonsela had found that Zuma had derived undue benefit from the supposed security upgrades, which included a swimming pool, cattle kraal and amphitheatre. The upgrades cost more than R200-million.