South African Constitutional Court has ruled on Thursday that President Jacob Zuma to uphold, defend and respect the constitution when he ignored the instructions of an anti-graft watchdog to repay some of the 16 million dollars spent on his private home.
The unanimous ruling by the 11 judges, sitting in Johannesburg gave Zuma 105 days to repay the “reasonable cost” of non-security-related upgrades to his sprawling rural residence at Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal.
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, described the uncompromising nature of the judgment as a “profound lesson” for South Africa’s young democracy.
Meanwhile, opposition leader, Mmusi Maimane, told reporters that Zuma should be removed from office.
He insisted that he would table a parliamentary motion to have him impeached.
An official said on condition of anonymity that the ruling by the Constitutional Court was the latest twist in a six-year saga that has damaged Zuma politically.
He said it was also a vindication for Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, a constitutionally mandated anti-graft watchdog.
Zuma, a 73-year-old Zulu traditionalist, has been under fire since December when his abrupt sacking of finance minister Nhlanhla Nene sent the rand into a tail-spin.
The rand firmed to a near-four month high against the dollar as Mogoeng delivered his ruling.