South Africa: Zuma Reimburses 542,000 Dollars
The Constitutional Court ordered him to pay back the money to the public treasury he spent to refurbish his Nkandla private residence.
South Africa’s President, Jacob Zuma has paid back to the State treasury the 542,000 U.S. Dollars he spent to renovate his traditional homestead in Nkanla in the rural eastern province of KwaZulu-Natal, NDTV reports.
The country’s highest court, the Constitutional Court found him guilty of siphoning the money from the public treasury and ordered him to pay back to the said treasury 7,814,155 million rand local currency which is the equivalent of 542,000 U.S. Dollars. The money was used to refurbish a swimming pool, a chicken run, a cattle enclosure, an amphitheatre and a visitors’ centre.
« President Zuma has paid over the amount… to the South African Reserve Bank as ordered by the Constitutional Court of South Africa, » NDTV quoted a statement from the presidency. The statement added that the president raised the money through a home loan. Reports say the treasury confirmed separately that the payment had been received.
What has come to be known as the “House Scandal” started in 2014 when a report made by the public ombudswoman, Thuli Madonsela, found that Zuma and his family had « unduly benefited » from the upgrade work — valued in 2014 at 216 million rand (then 24 million U.S. Dollars) and ordered him to pay back some of the money. President Zuma reacted by ordering two government investigations that cleared his name, including a report by the police minister which concluded that the swimming pool was a fire-fighting precaution.
In March 2014, the Constitutional Court ruled Zuma had « failed to uphold, defend and respect the constitution as the supreme law of the land ». The scandal was well exploited by the opposition leaders who earlier called for the impeachment of President Zuma. It greatly affected the ruling African National Congress (ANC) in the recent local elections as it suffered historic losses, garnering less than 54 per cent in ballot casts and losing councils in major cities.