12 September 2016
South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has taken out a home loan to repay state money he spent on non-security upgrades to his private residence, Zuma’s office said on Monday.
Zuma spent the money on lavish improvements including the erection of a swimming pool and amphitheatre to enhance his residence at Nkandla in the KwaZulu-Natal province.
In a stinging rebuke that hit Zuma financially and politically, the Constitutional Court ordered him in March to return some of the 16 million dollars state money.
The president’s office said Zuma had taken out a home loan on standard terms from private black-owned VBS Mutual Bank to repay 7.8 million rand ($538,000).
The sum was determined by the Treasury in June as the “reasonable cost” he should bear.
A Treasury spokeswoman said the payment had been received.
In 2014, a national anti-corruption watchdog identified a cattle enclosure, chicken run and visitor centre as non-security items that Zuma must pay for as well as the theatre and pool.
Zuma denied he had acted dishonestly over the upgrade.
In April, he survived an impeachment vote in parliament after the court’s ruling over the Nkandla costs, but the long-running scandal has damaged him.
In August, the ruling African National Congress suffered its worst-ever losses in municipal elections.