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Nkandla Scandal: Jacob Zuma to Pay for Mansion Upgrade


South African President Jacob Zuma will repay some of the $23 million the government controversially spent on upgrading his private rural home in Nkandla.

In 2014, a report by the public protector said Jacob Zuma had “benefited unduly” from the upgrades.

President Jacob Zuma said the auditor-general and finance minister should determine how much he should repay to end the dispute.

The announcement comes a week before a constitutional hearing on the matter.

The refurbishment of the residence in the village of Nkandla, in Jacob Zuma’s home province of KwaZulu-Natal, has turned into a major political controversy in South Africa.Jacob Zuma Nkandla upgrade

Some of the money was spent on building an amphitheatre, swimming pool, and cattle enclosure.

The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) and Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), who have called for a corruption investigation, say they are pressing ahead with their court case regardless of the president’s latest offer.

Following Jacob Zuma’s announcement #PayBackThemoney is trending in South Africa – this was the phrase EFF lawmakers chanted at the president in parliament in 2015.

Many commentators seem skeptical.

Jacob Zuma’s delayed willingness to pay back the money spent on the upgrades to his Nkandla residence could be a calculated move to avoid embarrassment at the Constitutional Court hearing expected next week.

It could also be linked to the forthcoming local government election.

The Nkandla scandal has been a sore point for the governing African National Congress (ANC) which president Jacob Zuma leads, especially as the party faithful go out to campaign for votes.

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