Gwede Mantashe: ANC welcomes the president's apology

The ANC secretary general said the party continued to stand by President Zuma.

ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe at the ANC media briefing on the Constitutional Court judgement on 1 April, 2016. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe says the party's top six were unanimous in their response to the Constitutional Court's Nkandla judgment.

Briefing the media, Mantashe said the judgment did not give rise to disproportionate reaction by opposition parties or calls for the impeachment of President Jacob Zuma.

"Our view is that it is nothing new, but rather an over-exaggeration. We are aware of attempts by opposition parties to tell the ANC to tear itself apart. That's how we understand the call to recall Zuma."

He said the top six officials met today and deliberated extensively on the ruling.

He added that the ANC welcomed the well written, truly balanced judgment.

The secretary general said the party continued to stand by Zuma.

Earlier on Friday night Zuma announced that he welcomed the judgment of the Constitutional Court which ruled that the Public Protector's remedial action on the Nkandla matter was binding, adding that he never set out to violate the Constitution.

Mantashe said the ANC was convinced there was no intention by the president and Parliament to violate the Constitution.

"We noted and welcomed the apology to the nation. It was quite important that he humbled himself to apologise."

Mantashe says opposition parties have overreacted and the ANC is growing weary of their attempts to have the ruling party "tear itself apart".

"My view is that opposition forces are making their own call knowing that it's a call for the ANC to tear itself apart. It would be a sick organisation which would take action because the main opposition is calling for it."

He says nowhere in the court judgment does it say Zuma must vacate his office.

"It's stated in a particular way in the judgment that they have acted in a way that is inconsistent with the Constitution, which is less than the declaratory order which was called upon by opposition parties."

He urged all South Africans to read and understand the judgment.

Yesterday's judgment in the ConCourt found that Zuma's decision to ignore the Public Protector's Nkandla report was unlawful and directly violated the Constitution.

The Constitutional Court found that the president failed to uphold, defend and respect the Constitution as the supreme law of the land.

He has been ordered to pay back the money spent on his private residence at Nkandla.

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.

To read Zuma's speech on ConCourt judgment on Nkandla, click here.