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S. Africas Zuma ordered to repay Govt $500K for home upgrades

FILE - A Sept. 28, 2012, photo shows the private homestead of South African President Jacob Zuma in Nkandla, in the northern KwaZulu Natal province South Africa.
FILE - A Sept. 28, 2012, photo shows the private homestead of South African President Jacob Zuma in Nkandla, in the northern KwaZulu Natal province South Africa.

JOHANNESBURG-President Jacob Zuma must pay back about $500,000, or three percent of the public funds used to upgrade his personal country home, says South Africa's treasury.

The nation's highest court has accepted the report, but the president’s critics say they’re still not happy.

Once South Africa’s Constitutional Court finalizes its Tuesday ruling, Zuma will have 45 days to pay back the money into the nation’s coffers for upgrades he made to his rural homestead, called Nkandla.


In 2014, the nation’s top anti-corruption czar determined that Zuma “benefited unduly” by using about $23 million of government money to upgrade his home.

Zuma’s camp said the improvements were necessary security measures befitting a head of state.Public Protector Thuli Madonsela disagreed, saying he should not have used public funds for a swimming pool, cattle enclosure, chicken run, amphitheater and visitor center.


David Lewis, executive director of Johannesburg-based Corruption Watch, says South Africans want more from their president.

“I’m not surprised at the figures,” he told VOA.“I don’t think that the public are going to be satisfied with it, and they aren’t, quite clearly.... because there’s a widespread belief that the president benefits unduly from public resources over a range of fronts, and it’s an entirely justified perception, quite honestly.”

Perception of corruption
Lewis says South Africans believe their leaders are corrupt because they often encounter corruption in their daily lives.That sense that corruption permeates the government is cause for concern, he said.

 


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