Zuma’s week of hell

CityPress - - Front Page - ABRAM MASHEGO, CHARL DU PLESSIS, S’THEM­BILE CELE and AN­DISIWE MAKINANA news@city­press.co.za

1 Of­fi­cers from the Hawks’ crimes against the state unit sent to Par­lia­ment 2 Pres­i­dent Zuma combs through court pa­pers be­fore Tues­day 3 The City of Cape Town ap­proves three marches on the day of Sona 4 Malema threat­ens to dis­rupt Sona if Zuma doesn’t apol­o­gise for Nene’s ax­ing

When Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma de­liv­ers his state of the na­tion ad­dress (Sona) on Thurs­day, he will be sur­rounded by po­lice of­fi­cers from three units that have been de­ployed to Par­lia­ment to beef up par­lia­men­tary se­cu­rity. Among the “mas­sive call-up” of uni­formed of­fi­cers from the po­lice’s pub­lic or­der polic­ing and vis­i­ble polic­ing units will be sea­soned de­tec­tives from the Hawks’ crimes against the state unit.

This unit, headed by Bri­gadier Nyameka Xaba, in­ves­ti­gates espionage, sab­o­tage, fraud and cor­rup­tion. The of­fi­cers are set to have plenty to guard against. In an in­ter­view with City Press, Eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers (EFF) leader Julius Malema has warned that if Pres­i­dent Zuma wants to de­liver his ad­dress un­in­ter­rupted, he must first apol­o­gise for “the non­sense he did” when he fired Nh­lanhla Nene as fi­nance min­is­ter. Zuma is un­likely to oblige. But even be­fore his ad­dress, Pres­i­dent Zuma will have to con­vince the Con­sti­tu­tional Court on Tues­day that his ap­par­ent com­mit­ment to pay back some of the pub­lic money spent on up­grades to his Nkandla home can be rec­on­ciled against past at­tempts to ap­par­ently “se­cond-guess” and ig­nore find­ings made by Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor Thuli Madon­sela.

Zuma’s lawyers have re­vealed that he is tak­ing the case so se­ri­ously that he asked to be per­son­ally taken through the court pa­pers.

On Thurs­day, Cape Town will be buzzing with po­ten­tial drama be­cause the city has granted per­mis­sion to the #Zu­maMustFall move­ment, the DA and the Ses’Khona Peo­ple’s Rights Move­ment to protest in sep­a­rate marches in the city cen­tre just hours be­fore Zuma’s an­nual ad­dress.

City Press has also es­tab­lished that se­cu­rity of­fi­cials pro­posed this week that a 2km ex­clu­sion ra­dius or se­cu­rity zone be es­tab­lished on the day, but this plan was shot down by politi­cians who ar­gued that this would com­pletely lock down the city cen­tre.

Last year’s Sona pro­ceed­ings were in­ter­rupted af­ter EFF sec­re­tary-gen­eral Go­drich Gardee asked Pres­i­dent Zuma when he was go­ing to pay back a por­tion of the R246 mil­lion spent on his home as per Madon­sela’s rec­om­men­da­tions. Ten­sions reached boil­ing point and Speaker Baleka Mbete called in po­lice and par­lia­men­tary se­cu­rity of­fi­cers to kick out the protest­ing EFF MPs. Other op­po­si­tion party mem­bers also left the Na­tional As­sem­bly in sol­i­dar­ity.

Malema prom­ises event­ful week

Speak­ing ahead of what he promised would be “a very event­ful week”, Malema said Pres­i­dent Zuma needed to ex­plain and apol­o­gise to South Africans for plung­ing them into a “huge” fi­nan­cial cri­sis.

Malema’s big week will be­gin on Tues­day, when 5 000 EFF mem­bers are ex­pected to march from New­town to the Con­sti­tu­tional Court, where the Nkandla case is be­ing heard.

Malema told City Press: “We had a lot of peo­ple con­firm­ing; no fewer than 25 000 peo­ple. But we don’t have the ca­pac­ity to bring them all, be­cause we don’t have the money; we are chal­lenged. So I think we will man­age to bring 5 000.”

The party has vowed to bring Pres­i­dent Zuma’s ad­dress to a grind­ing halt should he not ex­plain to its sat­is­fac­tion why Nene was axed in De­cem­ber last year.

The EFF’s “war on cor­rup­tion” be­gan on Thurs­day when Malema an­nounced that the party’s march would also be di­rected at the con­tro­ver­sial Gupta fam­ily, which he said needed to leave South Africa.

“We are go­ing to win in the Con­sti­tu­tional Court and there is go­ing to be a nice sur­prise party for the Gup­tas on the ninth [of Fe­bru­ary].

“And in Par­lia­ment, the same old story is go­ing to hap­pen. We are go­ing to come and chal­lenge the pres­i­dent, and the white shirts [the term used to de­scribe the cops who last year dis­guised them­selves in white shirts] are go­ing to come in and then we are go­ing to start with the gym­nas­tics.

“And then we are go­ing to ul­ti­mately be de­feated and taken out, but his­tory will record that we are the only ones who con­sis­tently chal­lenge this rot that is hap­pen­ing. Like [op­po­si­tion MP dur­ing apartheid] He­len Suz­man, the ac­count of his­tory is so good for her,” added Malema.

Malema said that even if the fi­nance min­is­ter de­ba­cle had not hap­pened and the Nkandla mat­ter had been re­solved, Sona would still have been dis­rupted.

Zuma’s hopes of a court win

The EFF and DA’s best hope for con­vinc­ing the Con­sti­tu­tional Court on Tues­day that Pres­i­dent Zuma never meant to com­ply with Madon­sela’s find­ings is Po­lice Min­is­ter Nathi Nh­leko’s Nkandla re­port, which at­tempted to ex­on­er­ate Zuma from pay­ing back any money at all.

While con­sti­tu­tional law ex­perts have ar­gued that the pres­i­dent’s bid to set­tle the mat­ter out of court this week could put his le­gal team on the back foot come Tues­day’s hear­ing, Pres­i­dent Zuma will be hop­ing that re­spected se­nior ad­vo­cate Jeremy Gauntlett will be his trump card.

The pres­i­dent usu­ally re­tains Kemp J Kemp as lead coun­sel, and the fact that he has hired a big­ger le­gal gun is an in­di­ca­tion of just how se­ri­ously the mat­ter is be­ing taken.

Ac­cord­ing to its heads of ar­gu­ment, the EFF has asked to ap­proach the Con­sti­tu­tional Court di­rectly, based on a sec­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion that gives the court sole re­spon­si­bil­ity for de­cid­ing if the pres­i­dent or Par­lia­ment has failed to ful­fil a con­sti­tu­tional duty.

The DA has ar­gued for di­rect ac­cess to the Con­sti­tu­tional Court on the sep­a­rate con­sti­tu­tional grounds that it would be in the in­ter­ests of jus­tice for the court to hear the case, partly be­cause there is so much over­lap be­tween the two cases.

Al­though the EFF and the DA’s cases dif­fer, both are ask­ing the court to or­der Pres­i­dent Zuma to com­ply with Madon­sela’s pro­posed re­me­dial ac­tions.

Pres­i­dent Zuma’s lawyers have ac­cused the EFF and the DA of us­ing a “political ploy”, say­ing the par­ties “jumped the gun” be­cause the process to de­ter­mine how much money Zuma should re­pay – which it claims started with Nh­leko’s Nkandla re­port – is still un­der way.

But le­gal ex­perts and con­sti­tu­tional lawyers agree that Nh­leko’s re­port could well be Zuma’s big­gest headache. The prob­lem for the pres­i­dency is that Nh­leko’s re­port di­rectly con­tra­dicts Madon­sela’s spe­cific find­ings that fea­tures such as the in­fa­mous “fire pool”, cat­tle kraal and am­phithe­atre are not se­cu­rity re­lated.

Nh­leko de­ter­mined that th­ese were in fact se­cu­rity fea­tures and that Zuma there­fore did not have to pay for them. The DA and EFF ar­gue that the fact that Nh­leko’s re­port con­tra­dicts Madon­sela’s in­di­cates that his was a par­al­lel process in­tended to re­place Madon­sela’s find­ings.

How­ever, the op­po­si­tion par­ties will have their own hur­dles to over­come at Tues­day’s hear­ing.

The pro­ce­dure the Con­sti­tu­tional Court fol­lows is dif­fer­ent to those in lower courts and the court will still have to be con­vinced that it should hear the case di­rectly.

Con­sti­tu­tional law ex­pert Pierre de Vos said this was the one ma­jor weak­ness in the EFF’s case and the court could re­ally rule “ei­ther way”.

This could also be prob­lem­atic for the DA, given that its case for di­rect ac­cess to the court is so closely re­lated to the EFF’s.

Cops in Par­lia­ment

Hawks spokesper­son Bri­gadier Hang­wani Mu­laudzi con­firmed that mem­bers of the crimes against the state unit would be in Par­lia­ment dur­ing Pres­i­dent Zuma’s ad­dress.

“They will not be in the fore­front. Vis­i­ble polic­ing and pub­lic or­der units will be in the fore­front, and the Hawks will be on stand-by to deal with se­ri­ous threats,” he said.

Mu­laudzi de­clined to re­veal how many po­lice of­fi­cers would be de­ployed to Par­lia­ment, but said that their of­fi­cers were not go­ing to be tar­get­ing EFF mem­bers, but would “be as­sist­ing other law en­force­ment agen­cies that will be de­ployed dur­ing the event”.

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