CATCH UP: The Nkandla Saga

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Johannesburg, 6 October 2015 - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has been given the go-ahead to join the EFF's Constitutional Court case against the president over money spent to upgrade Nkandla.

* Editor&39;s note: Watch the Constitutional Court judgment live at 10am on Thursday

JOHANNESBURG - The Constitutional Court will hand down judgment on Thursday on whether President Jacob Zuma broke the law regarding the handling of payments for his private Nkandla residence. 

The Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) took Zuma and speaker of Parliament, Baleka Mbete, to court after Zuma failed to heed the directives of the Public Protector that he should pay back some of the R216-million of state money spent on security upgrades to his private residence at Nkandla, in rural KwaZulu-Natal.

Follow all the stories via our Coverage section here

In December 2009, Mail and Guardian reporter Mandy Rossouw broke the Nkandla story, revealing that the president was due to upgrade his private residence and that the taxpayer would "be footing the largest chunk of the bill". At the time, it was estimated that this would cost roughly R65-million. 

Initially the Department of Public Works determined that it would cost an estimated R27.9-million "for construction costs and professional fees for anticipated expenditure during the 2009/10 financial year".

In October 2012 reports emerged that R208-million would now be spent on upgrading Nkandla. That number has since been revised to around R250-million.

Zuma responded to the row in Parliament on 16 November 2012, saying that Nkandla was built by his family and not by government. Watch his response in the video below. 

In January 2013, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela announced her office would investigate the Nkandla upgrades.

In June 2013, Parliament heard that the Nkandla Report would not be made available to the public, the Audior-General or the Public Protector, sparking the ire of the Democratic Alliance, which later went to court to force the report&39;s release. 

In November, Madonsela directed Zuma to pay a portion of the costs. Read the full story here.

In the months that followed, the Public Protector&39;s office was accused of leaking information from its closed interim report to the media, a claim she vehmently denied

2013 ended with a government report finding that there were irregularities in the appointment of contractors and procurement of goods for the upgrading of Nkandla. The president called for a probe into the appointment of those contractors. 

In March 2014, Madonsela made her report - titled &39;Secure in Comfort&39; - public, revealing some damning findings. 

The building of the non-security measures implemented -  such as the visitor centre, swimming pool, amphitheater, cattle kraal and chicken run - "went beyond what was reasonably required for his security", said Madonsela.

Read the key findings here.

Watch Madonsela&39;s news briefing below:

The DA responded to the release of the Public Protector&39;s report by announcing that it wanted Zuma impeached over Nkandla. 

Minister Jeff Radebe insisted that some disputed features at Nkandla, as mentioned by Madonsela, were security features. 

In March the DA and EFF laid charges against the President, a move slammed by the ANC as being an act of desperation.

Still, the president maintained he did nothing wrong, asking "Why should I pay for something I didn&39;t ask for?"

In August, The Special Investigations Unit, one of three bodies investigating Nkandla, submitted its report to Zuma; the same day that the EFF disrupted Parliament with its PayBackTheMoney chants.

 

This sparked a wave of protests in Parliament, with oppotition MPs staging a walkout

Follow our PayBackTheMoney coverage here

In November, Parliament adopted a draft report by MPs looking into the Nkandla upgrades, which found that the president was innocent of any wrongdoing and not liable to pay back a cent. 

Opposition MPs had tried to block the report, but after a marathon debate it was pushed through by the ANC&39;s majority, with 210 MPs voting in favour of it and 103 against with 0 abstaining.

At the end of 2014, it emerged that Nkandla was in a poor state of repair, further rubbing salt into the wounds of those who vehmently opposed it. 

In September, Police Minister Nathi Nhleko found that the president wasn&39;t liable to pay back any money spent on some of the upgrades. 

He went on to show why Zuma&39;s family needed a fire pool. Watch the video below.

July 2015 saw a visit to Nkandla by the Parliamentary Ad-hoc Commitee. It was followed by a media visit, giving the country its first real glimpse of the homestead.

 

It was during this time, that the powers of the Public Protector were brought into question. 

In August the Nkandla ad hoc committee formally adopted the African National Congress members’ report, endorsing the Police Minister Nathi Nhleko’s findings. 

This effectively meant that Zuma wouldn&39;t be held liable for any of the upgrades at his Nkandla homestead.

Parliament then adopted the Nkandla Report

In September 2015, the constitutional Court set down the case for 9 February, 2016. The DA and Public Protector soon followed suit, joining the case. 

February this year saw President Jacob Zuma proposing what he called a Nkandla Solution. In a late night statement, shortly before the Constitutional Court case was to go ahead. Zuma agreed to pay back some of the money spent on Nkandla, but this was rejected by opposition parties

On 9 February, 2016, the Constitutional Court heard the opposition parties&39; case. The EFF said it would push for the President&39;s impeachment if the ANC did not recall him, in the event the court rules that he breached the Constitution.

 

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