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Public Protector warns of praise-singers

Thuli Madonsela says people in authority should not reject those who disagree with them.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela briefs the media on the outcome of the Nkandla matter in the Con Court. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

PRETORIA - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela says among the lessons to be learnt from the Nkandla saga is for people in authority not to surround themselves with 'praise-singers'.

She was responding to the scathing judgment in the Constitutional Court this morning which found President Jacob Zuma is liable for some of the costs to his Nkandla home.

WATCH: Madonsela: ConCourt judgment a victory for SA

The court reaffirmed the Public Protector's authority and that its remedial action is binding.

It found Zuma acted unlawfully, directly violating the Constitution.

WATCH: ConCourt's Nkandla ruling: What will Parliament do?

Madonsela's sage advice echoed the tale of the emperor's new clothes.

"Those who exercise authority must be careful to not surround themselves with praise-singers. Don't reject those who disagree with you, because you might just head for a cliff."

She was generous in her assessment of president Zuma and his executive's conduct, saying that everyone makes mistakes.

"I want to believe that a mistake was made."

LISTEN: Public Protector shares her thoughts on Zuma's Nkandla concessions with EWN.

Madonsela is satisfied that the court has settled the question of her office's authority.

For two years, Zuma challenged this authority and appointed members of his executive to absolve him of any responsibility.

WATCH: What do South Africans think about Zuma's damning ruling?

The Public Protector says the Constitutional Court has confirmed that she has quite simply "done her job properly".

Madonsela says her job was to protect the public from improper conduct.

"By firstly, determining if somebody's conduct was improper and secondly, determining how it should be fixed. I did so and now the Constitutional Court has confirmed that I did my job properly."

She says the public incorrectly views the Nkandla investigation as a burden on her office.

"There is no doubt in my mind that Nkandla was a blessing because we needed a point at which we clearly defined what the Constitution means when it says the Public Protector has the power."

Madonsela says the court reaffirms the supremacy of the Constitution.

To read the full judgment by the ConCourt on Nkandla, click here.

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

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