South Africa’s main opposition party, Democratic Alliance, has laid corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma over the use of state money to improve his Nkandla private residence.
The move follows a report by South Africa’s top corruption fighter accusing President Jacob Zuma of unethical conduct over the upgrade of Nkandla house.
The changes to Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla private home, including a pool and cattle enclosure, cost South African taxpayers about $23 million.
Police are now obliged to investigate the Democratic Alliance’s complaint.
It will then be passed on to the National Prosecuting Authority which will decide whether there is a formal case to answer.
The refurbishment of the residence in Nkandla, in Jacob Zuma’s home province of KwaZulu-Natal, has turned into a major political controversy in South Africa as the country approaches elections in May.
A government probe in December cleared President Jacob Zuma, who came to office in 2009, of any wrongdoing, saying the improvements were needed for security reasons.
“We are laying charges because we want the president to be held personally liable,” said Mmusi Maimane, the national spokesman for the Democratic Alliance (DA).
The report released by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela on Wednesday said Jacob Zuma should repay costs for some of the unnecessary renovations from which he had “benefited unduly”.
Thuli Madonsela said that while it could be “legitimately construed” that Jacob Zuma had misled parliament, he made a “bona fide mistake” over which part of the renovations he was referring to.
Mmusi Maimane led a DA delegation to file their charges against the president at the police station in Nkandla, near Jacob Zuma’s home.
Referring to the Nkandla compound, he said: “I am angered because what we see behind us is corruption of the highest order.
“If we allow this president to continue today we are systematically allowing corruption to thrive in South Africa.”
Earlier, Gwede Mantashe, the secretary general of the governing African National Congress (ANC), said officials implicated in Thuli Madonsela’s report should be brought to book.
Gwede Mantashe dismissed the DA’s earlier calls for Jacob Zuma to be impeached saying opposition parties were trying to “sensationalize” the report.
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