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ConCourt: Zuma must pay back the money

The court has found Zuma failed to uphold, defend & respect the Constitution as the supreme law of the land.

A panel of judges sit in as Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng delivers judgment in the Nkandla saga on 31 March 2016. Picture: Pool

JOHANNESBURG - The Constitutional Court has found that President Jacob Zuma failed to uphold, defend and respect the Constitution as the supreme law of the land.

He has been ordered to pay back the money.

National Treasury has been given 60 days to determine a reasonable amount for Zuma to pay back.

Zuma will then have 45 days to pay the final amount.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng issued the final orders in his conclusion of the judgment:

Mogoeng said remedial action is binding and Zuma's compliance is not optional.

"No binding and constitutionally or statutory liaisons decision may be disregarded 'willy-nilly'."

He said Zuma was entitled to inquire into the correctness of those aspects of the report he disagreed with.

"All the president was required to do was to comply, even if he had reason to doubt its correctness."

To read the full judgment read out by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, click here.

Mogoeng said the Public Protector's office must be independent.

"It is supposed to protect the public from any conduct in state affairs or in any sphere of government that could result in any impropriety or prejudice.

The Public Protector is thus one of the most invaluable Constitutional gifts to our nation in the fight against corruption."

He said today's ruling deals with issues of great importance to South Africans and the well-being of the country's Constitutional democracy.

Judges took just over a month to weigh up arguments from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the Democratic Alliance (DA), the National Assembly speaker and Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.

Zuma had previously refused to pay back the money saying Madonsela's orders, which she made in her report entitled 'Secure in Comfort', two years ago, were merely recommendations.

To read the full statement by the Presidency, click here.

WATCH: Zuma refuses to pay back the money:

The president spent R246 million on non-security features at his Nkandla home in KwaZulu-Natal.

LAST MONTH'S COURT PROCEEDINGS

In a surprising move last month, Zuma admitted that the Public Protector's findings are in fact binding, and he offered to pay back some of the money.

His lawyer Jeremy Gauntlett argued that there was simply an error in law.

The EFF spearheaded the case, and its lawyer Wim Trengove argued that Zuma had violated his ethical and duty by defying the Public Protector.

WATCH: Malema: This is the beginning of the end for Zuma

At the same time, lawyers representing Parliamentary speaker Baleka Mbete conceded that the National Assembly acted on a wrong principle in terms of holding Zuma accountable.

Her lawyer, Lindi Nkosi-Thomas also made a concession when asked by the Chief Justice why the National Assembly didn't hold Zuma accountable.

"Parliament acted on the wrong principle, thinking at the time that the principle was correct."

To view EWN's feature on key moments from the Nkandla saga, click here.

To read the full statement by the ANC on the judgment. click here.

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