Anti-Jacob Zuma protestors outside the South African court © Press Association Images
Anti-Jacob Zuma protestors outside the South African court © Press Association Images

Zuma makes payment offer to settle home improvement dispute

12 February 2016

South African president Jacob Zuma has offered to pay for any increase in value to his home brought about by controversial improvement works to end a long-running saga where he is accused of a misappropriation of public funds to finance the improvements.

In 2014 the estimated R246.6 million bill to upgrade Zuma’s home, which included building a swimming pool and ampitheatre, was declared by public protector Thuli Madonsela to be “unconscionable, excessive, and caused a misappropriation of public funds”. She ordered Zuma to pay a reasonable percentage" of the cost of works not related to security.

After denying liability for two years of Zuma has said he would pay a sum equivalent to the increase in value to the property, providing this sum was determined by an objective inquiry.

Zuma has said he wanted to end the dispute which as well as being drawn-out is, he claims, being manipulated for political purposes.

In the public prosecutor’s report Madonsela said a swimming pool and amphitheatre at Nkandla went beyond the security works Zuma was entitled to under regulations. She also accusing officials of “failing dismally” to follow procurement rules.

However South African political pundits and legal experts believe the offer signals Zuma’s waning grip on power and is unlikely to derail the legal case against him.

South Africa's Constitutional Court is currently deciding whether Zuma should pay back the public money used, where protests were held against Zuma this week (pictured).

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