South African President Jacob Zuma was Thursday found guilty of violating the country's constitution by failing to repay public money he had used in upgrading his home. Following the top court's ruling, the Opposition in South Africa moved a bid to impeach Zuma.
South Africa's Constitutional Court also criticised the African National Congress party-dominated Parliament and said it had "acted inconsistent with the constitution" by not holding Zuma accountable, according to Times Live. In 2014, South Africa's anti-corruption "public protector" Thuli Madonsela had charged Zuma with having "unduly benefited" from government money for upgrading his home.
The judge ordered Zuma to pay back the money he used to upgrade his private home in Nkandla and said he had "failed to uphold, defend and respect the constitution of the Republic." The court asked South Africa's treasury to determine the expenditures made by the president on non-security upgrades, including for an amphitheatre, and swimming pool, and gave Zuma 105 days to "personally pay back" the money. According to the Associated Press, the amount Zuma owes is over $20 million.
"The president is the head of state, his is the calling to the highest office in the land, he is the first citizen of this country...In failing to comply with the remedial action, the president thus failed to uphold, comply and respect the constitution. The president may have been acting on wrong legal advice, in good faith. But the illegality still stands," Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said.
The Democratic Alliance, the main opposition party in South Africa, reportedly launched impeachment proceedings against Zuma.
The South African president has already been embroiled in corruption scandals in the country, especially for his links to a wealthy Indian family that allegedly influenced several appointments in his government.
In December 2015, hundreds of citizens took to the streets to protest against Zuma, accusing him of corruption and poor governance.