Zuma finally pays back the money

By Drum Digital
12 September 2016

President Jacob Zuma has paid over the amount of R7 814 155.00 to the South African Reserve Bank as ordered by the Constitutional Court of South Africa in respect of his private homestead at Nkandla.

By Aphiwe Boyce

President Zuma has paid over the amount of R7 814 155.00 to the South African Reserve Bank as ordered by the Constitutional Court of South Africa for non-security upgrades at of his private homestead in Nkandla.

Presidential spokesperson Dr Bongani Ngqulunga  said the president  raised the amount through a home loan from the Sandton-based VBS Mutual Bank, which he said was one of a  few financial institutions providing loans to properties in communal lands. The financial institution was first registered as the Venda Building Society in 1982, according to its website.

The total cost of the upgrades at Zuma’s homestead caused a national outcry when it was reported to have escalated to a whopping R246-million, which prompted the public protector to investigate. In March 2014, Public Protector Madonsela found that Zuma has unduly benefited from the upgrades in her report ‘Secure in Comfort’.

In the report Madonsela ordered Zuma to pay back a percentage of the costs for the non-security related upgrades. These included the cattle kraal, chicken run, visitors centre, amphitheatre and the controversial swimming pool also referred to as the 'fire pool'.

The president had initially ignored the Madonsela’s remedial action, arguing in parliament that he did not ask for any of the non-security upgrades. The African National Congress (ANC-led ad hoc committee into the matter had also found that the president was not liable to pay for any of the upgrades.

In March this year, Zuma was ordered by the Constitutional Court  to pay back the public purse in one of the biggest scandals of his presidency. The court approved National Treasury’s R7.8 million calculation of that amount.

In terms of the court order, Zuma had until September 29 to make the payment.

The Democratic Alliance , however, still wants Zuma to account further for Nkandla.

“This is certainly not the final chapter in the Nkandla saga,” it said in a statement. “We have previously articulated that President Zuma is liable for R63.9 million in fringe benefits tax, and that he must release his  tax records in order to ascertain whether this tax has been paid or not.”

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