On Thursday morning, the Constitutional Court ordered President Jacob Zuma to pay back a portion of the expenses spent on “non-security upgrades” at his Nkandla homestead. DANA DA SILVA and MBALI ZWANE went out and spoke to Joburgers about their thoughts on the court’s ruling.
Rose Dlamini, works at Vintage no 60, Soweto
I was expecting that the court will rule positively in that he must pay it back, given the attention and support behind the decision. As a citizen, I would’ve been very disappointed if the ruling had been otherwise. I doubt that Zuma will survive this, if I were him, I would step down immediately and resign from the presidency. I’d advise him to pay back the money and step down. I salute Thuli Madonsela, a job well done to her.
Bongumusa Nkomo, 22, university student
I support the court’s decision that the president must pay that money back. He misused the state’s money; it wasn’t his money that he spent so who must pay it back if he doesn’t? He used it. We’re living in a democratic country. Everything has to be done in a democratic way, therefore I wasn’t surprised by the ruling, I was expecting it. I’m happy with the decision because it shows that we’re living in a democratic country. Zuma is a strong man, he will survive this.
Ceboliyazakha Mkhize, 20, university student
I don’t agree with the court’s decision that Jacob Zuma must pay back the money because there’s no evidence that he was involved in the decision making to spend all that money for his house. I wasn’t expecting the decision because I think further investigations should have happened to proof that he had a say in spending that money. He is unlikely to survive this decision, how would he pay back approximately R58 million when he earns about R4 million a year? It’s going to be tough.
Lusubilo Mazyopa, 17 (turning 18), unemployed/taking a gap year
I support the judge’s decision because there are a lot of things that can be fixed with that money, such as roads and sanitation in rural areas. I was surprised at the ruling because this pay back the money thing has been going on and spoken about for so long with little way forward. I had given up on South Africa’s constitution because I feel it’s not strict enough, how long have we been saying he must pay it back? I don’t think he’s going to pay it back because he thinks he can do what he wants and get away with it.
Fikile Kubheka, 46, dental assistant
Jacob Zuma did something out of the law, he must pay it back. Everything is done by the law, so if the law says he must pay it back then he must. This ruling affirms my confidence in South Africa’s democracy and constitution. I don’t think he can get by this but let’s give him a chance to finish his term as president. Maybe he’ll improve because he will learn from his mistakes and rectify them. He must just show us that he is capable. If he feels he can’t finish his term, he must step down and let someone else take over. For our economy’s sake. We don’t hate him, everyone has mistakes but he must do the right thing.
Letlhgonolo Nchongane, 26, graphics and web designer, North West
I think the court rulings are fair. He has to pay back the money. I wasn’t really expecting it, but I guess it reached that level where, also the nation, it was too much for them. He’s been doing a lot of things and he’s been getting away with a lot of things, so I thought this one was also going to be one of those. I think he must fall. People are fed up. The ANC are trying to win, but they know they must do the right thing.
Thabo Mamabolo, 21, university student, Limpopo
I’m totally convinced that Zuma did use the money, the R250 million, some of it was not for the security upgrades. So I think it’s a good thing that he’s going to pay back the money. It just shows the democratic country that we do have in South Africa. I’m not quite sure, but I think he might resign with the court saying that he has to pay back the money, the Gupta issue and everything. We will see in the next hearing in the parliament what will happen, but hopefully he will resign. That is what I hope for.
Leon Kiet, 33, freelancer, Eastern Cape
I think the ruling for me is ok, for Zuma to allow a situation like that, to allow the state to build him a house was irresponsible of him as a leader. He should lead by example, because there are people who are living in poverty and now he is living on the state expenses and yet allows about R250 million to build his own estate. It was irresponsible of him to allow something like that, even from the start. So I think he must pay back the money.
Wendy Jones, 57, retired, Fourways
It’s time that the bastard is held accountable for stuff that he’s done. I trust Thuli Mandonsela, I think she’s brilliant, she’s phenomenal. I don’t think she could be ignored and people just in general were fed up with it. I thought the court needs to do something. He’s got to be held accountable. I think Zuma has lost all trust even from people, like my helper, who lives in Diepsloot, and is not very politically savvy. If I speak to her she says no, no more. The DA has got to come into Joburg.
Voxes have been edited for brevity and clarity.