Parties have until 4pm Friday to settle Nkandla matter

Genevieve Quintal and Fienie Grobler, News24

Johannesburg - The Constitutional Court has given parties involved in the Nkandla matter until 16:00 on Friday to reach a settlement.

The registrar told News24 the parties had until Friday afternoon to tell the court whether they would settle or if the matter should go ahead next Tuesday.

President Jacob Zuma this week sent a letter to the court's registrar to suggest that it order the auditor general and finance minister to determine how much he should pay back for the multi-million rand upgrades to non-security features at his home in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal.

The opposition Economic Freedom Fighters and Democratic Alliance were due to argue in the Constitutional Court next week that Zuma needed to follow the recommendations of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela that he pay back part of the money spent on renovations at his Nkandla compound.

The DA is also pursuing a separate court matter to test Madonsela's powers.

In a bid that appears to avoid the court confrontation two days before the opening of Parliament, Zuma proposed on Tuesday that the auditor-general and finance minister determine a reasonable portion of the costs for him to pay for upgrades that were not security-related.

There was a "need for finality", said Zuma's lawyers in the letter.

Madonsela released a report, "Secure in Comfort", in March 2014, in which she recommended that the president pay a reasonable portion of the R246m spent on upgrades to his home, saying some of the renovations were not security-related.

Since then, Zuma has stalled, with several other state agencies being asked to also investigate the matter.

He repeatedly said he would not "pay back the money", as has been chanted by the EFF in Parliament repeatedly - disruptions that ended with their forcible removals from the house.