South Africa’s top court rules against president in scandal

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa’s Constitutional Court has ruled that President Jacob Zuma “failed to uphold” the constitution when he did not pay back some state funds used to upgrade his home.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng also said Thursday that parliament, which is dominated by the ruling African National Congress, had failed in its obligations by not holding Zuma to account in the spending scandal.

Speaking for South Africa’s highest court, Mogoeng says Zuma should not have ignored a state watchdog’s recommendations that he should reimburse state funds.

He said Zuma “failed to uphold, defend, and respect the constitution as the supreme law of the land.”

Zuma’s office had said he was willing to reimburse some of the more than $20 million. His critics say the offer was to avoid a court hearing.