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‘Today marks the beginning of Zuma's removal’

Malema says Zuma must admit that he has violated the Constitution with regards to Nkandla.

EFF leader Julius Malema speaks to the media outside the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg after judgement was reserved in the Nkandla case. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.
President Jacob Zuma,Nkandla,Julius Malema
Local Politics

JOHANNESBURG - Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema  says today’s Constitutional Court (ConCourt) case is just the beginning of a process to ensure President Jacob Zuma is removed as the head of state.

He says Zuma must admit that he has violated the Constitution with regards to Nkandla.

Malema says he’s pleased with the arguments made by his legal team today and says it’s the first step in holding the president to account.

He adds his party will accept nothing less than President Zuma complying with all the recommendations made by the Public Protector.

Malema says if the court rules that Zuma did indeed violate the Constitution, he must be removed.

“If the ANC doesn’t want to remove him, we will go and impeach him in Parliament. If they lose their majority to protect him, we are back here for the ConCourt to make a pronouncement about a sitting president who violates the Constitution.”

Malema reiterated that the EFF will bring the matter up again in Parliament.

Zuma is due to give his State of the Nation Address on Thursday.

WATCH: Nkandla at the Constitutional Court

Speaking to supporters outside the court, Malema said Zuma must go. 

“Why is Zuma changing today, but all along he was laughing in Parliament like ‘hehehe maye’babo’ [oh my God] because he thought he was untouchable.”

WATCH: Zuma takes a swipe at the opposition in Parliament

He says the final judgment by the court will be respected.

“We must be men and women of principle and respect the court.”

‘IT’S NOT ENOUGH FOR ZUMA TO JUST PAY’

At the same time, lawyers representing the EFF say it’s not enough for Zuma to just pay back the money for upgrades to his Nkandla home.

Zuma’s lawyers conceded today that the Public Protector’s remedial action is binding and should have been complied with.

The EFF and the Democratic Alliance submitted their arguments along with other legal teams focusing on the powers of Thuli Madonsela and how her recommendations should be interpreted.

Wim Trengove, who is representing the EFF, says paying back the money is a huge victory and something that’s been close to his client’s heart for the past two years.

But he says this simply isn’t enough.

“It is not enough for the president to say, after being pushed into a corner after two years, that he now undertakes to do way the Constitution required of him in the first place.”

Trengove has argued that Zuma failed in his duties to uphold the Constitution and to assist the Public Protector.

Zuma’s lawyers say there was an error in law and today the president has accepted that Madonsela’s remedial action is this case is binding. 

ZUMA’S TEAM TRIES TO AVOID IMPEACHMENT

Constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos says he believes the concession made by Zuma’s legal team that the Nkandla report is binding was only made to protect him from facing harsh political or financial repercussions.

De Vos says it appears the president’s legal team conceded to the recommendations to avoid the prospect of an impeachment.                                                                                 

“I don’t know if this is correct but it almost appears as if the president and his lawyers are not so confident that he could keep the majority party on his side if there was a finding made by the court that he did indeed breach [the findings of the Public Protector’s report].” 

Judgment has been reserved.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)

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