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President Zuma: I never set out to violate the Constitution

He welcomed the ConCourt judgment that the Public Protector's remedial action on Nkandla is binding.

FILE: Jacob Zuma. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma has tonight 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.

"I respect the judgment and will abide by it. I have consistently said I am willing to pay once the amount has been determined by the correct authority," he said

He said it was never his intention not to abide by the Public Protector's remedial action.

"I welcome the finding of the court that it was legally permissible for me to inquire into the aspects of the reports I disagreed with.

"I wish to confirm that I did not act dishonestly. The intention was not in pursuit of corrupt ends or to use state resources to unduly benefit me and my family.

"There are lessons to be learnt here for all in government. Government is improving procurement measures to prevent (such mistakes) in future."

He said that any action that was not in line with Constitution happened because of different legal advice.

"It all happened in good faith. There was no effort to subvert the Constitution.

"With hindsight, many matters should have been handled differently. We deeply regret these."

He apologised on behalf of government and in his personal capacity.

Read the full text of his speech here.

CONCOURT FINDING

Yesterday's judgment in the Constitutional Court 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 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 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.

Earlier today the ANC's top six met in Pretoria to discuss the ruling.

The African National Congress will also address the media at 8pm tonight on the outcomes of the meeting of its national officials held today.

The meeting was convened to discuss the Constitutional Court judgment delivered yesterday in relation to compliance to reports of the Public Protector.

CALLS FOR IMPEACHMENT

After yesterday's judgment Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane has said his party would take any steps necessary to remove Zuma from his post should Parliament fail to do so.

The DA has filed a motion in Parliament to have Zuma impeached.

The president's relationship with the controversial Gupta family has also come under increased scrutiny in recent weeks, with several ANC members, including Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas, having stated that members of the family offered them Cabinet posts, if they complied with certain conditions.