The scathing report of the Public Protector on the so-called Nkandla “upgrades” probably marks one of the darkest moments in the history our country since the advent of democracy in 1994.

The findings that President Zuma has once again violated the Executive Members Ethics Code through his failure to act in protection of state resources, that he tacitly accepted the implementation of all measures at his residence and has unduly benefited from the enormous capital investment, must be offensive to any nation that takes pride in the values espoused in its constitution.

No individual can be above our nation and our laws. We agree with the Public Protector when she says, “…if government becomes lawbreaker, it breeds contempt of law”.

The report, in finding guilty various ministers and departments, is an indictment of our government and the ruling party.

Advocate Madonsela’s report exposes the conspicuous lack of shame of the ruling party, its ministers and its leaders. The Comrades in Corruption have a propensity to deceive the citizenry in defence of its susceptible president and each other.

The ministers’ calculated deception and ex facto justification of the spend is an indication of how institutionalised corruption has rooted itself in government.  The fabric of our nation’s probity has been corroded and confidence has waned in the leadership, body politic and integrity of our nation – all because of one man and what was done in his defence.

The ANC’s continued disregard of the many voices of conscience, inside and outside its ranks, and failure to put South Africa first, is a clear indication that only the voters can stop them now. We therefore urge voters to send the message loud and clear: “We Can Stop Corruption”.

The United Democratic Movement (UDM) also pays tribute to the late Mandy Rossouw who exposed this scandal through her courageous and diligent journalistic work. Her extraordinary work reinforces our belief that a free media remains one of the pillars of our constitutional democracy. There is no doubt that somewhere up there she looks down upon South Africa with a broad smile.

In addition, we continue to be impressed with the meticulous and diligent way in which the Public Protector and her team carries out their functions.  We have full confidence in the constitution and all its institutions that are meant to strengthen our democracy.

After having witnessed this situation unfold, it is clear that electoral legislation in South Africa must change to allow the people to hire and fire their own president. We cannot sit; do nothing and suffer the consequences. We, as the people, must take responsibility and take charge.

Now is the time for our nation to stand up against corruption. We can change what has become systemic corruption if we rise to the challenge.