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‘National Assembly acted on wrong principle in holding Zuma accountable’

Baleka Mbete's lawyer says it wasn’t up to Parliament to enforce the Public Protector’s findings.

FILE: National Assembly Speaker Beleka Mbete. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Lawyers representing Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete say the National Assembly acted on the wrong principle in terms of holding President Jacob Zuma accountable for the Nkandla debacle.

The case being heard in the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) has focused on how the Public Protector's findings on the R246 million Nkandla project have been interpreted.

The DA and the EFF have questioned why Parliament rubber stamped Zuma's position at the time, when he said Advocate Thuli Madonsela's remedial action was not binding.

Mbete's lawyer, Lindi Nkosi-Thomas, says the National Assembly had sought advice from senior counsel about whether the Public Protector's remedial action is binding.

"Our submission is that Parliament had to apply its mind to the executive action."

At the same time, Nkosi-Thomas says it wasn't up to Parliament to enforce the Public Protector's findings.

"It remains binding towards the president, ours is a different function, ours is not an enforcement because we are not the sheriff of the court."

She's now conceded that the National Assembly acted on a wrong principle.

Earlier, President Zuma's lawyers said he acted on an error of law and that he accepted the remedial action is binding and should have been complied with.

#Nkandla #EFF's Floyd Shivambu says this court battle is one for all South Africans, regardless of party. RDT pic.twitter.com/eSFu8y3fUV

The lawyer representing Mbete says allegations that Parliament undermined the powers of the Public Protector are incorrect.

Nkosi-Thomas says Madonsela gave directives for the president to respond to Parliament on the findings to the Nkandla report but didn't dictate to Parliament how it should act.

"She says the president is to report to the National Assembly on this report within 14 days. She stops there, she doesn't tell the National Assembly what to do upon the receipt of the report."

She says the National Assembly was within its rights to execute its own powers.

'WHERE WILL ZUMA GET THE MONEY?'

Meanwhile, EFF Leader Julius Malema has again questioned where Zuma will have the money to pay for what was spent on his Nkandla home.

The party leader told thousands who had gathered at the Mary Fitzgerald Square earlier today that the Guptas have been milking the resources of the country much to the benefit of Zuma.

Malema has reiterated his stance that the family must leave South Africa.

Malema says Zuma's sudden U-turn shows that he may have lied about having a bond to pay for upgrades at his Nkandla home.

Malema now wants to know where he will get the money.

"That is a lot of money. According to a special investigating unit, the money is almost R155 million, where will Zuma get R155 million?"

The EFF leadership is currently inside the court where proceedings are underway.

Some EFF supporters have warned to shut down the area around the court if the Nkandla matter does not reach the outcome they're looking for.

"We are going to shut down this building, we are ready for anything… We want to tell him 'pay back the money'. As long as Zuma pays back the money, we will leave."

Party members are expected to remain outside the court until they are briefed later.

WATCH: EFF rejects Zuma's plan to #PayBackTheMoney

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