South African president repays fraction of money spent on luxury renovations after court ruled he must bear ‘reasonable cost’
South Africa’s president, Jacob Zuma, has taken out a home loan to repay state money spent on non-security upgrades to his private residence, his office has said. The repayment follows a scandal over lavish improvements to Zuma’s home, including a swimming pool and an amphitheatre.
The constitutional court ordered Zuma in March to return some of the $16m (£12m) spent on enhancing his residence at Nkandla in the KwaZulu-Natal province.
The president’s office said Zuma had taken out a home loan on standard terms from the private VBS Mutual Bank to repay 7.8m rand (£405,146) – the sum 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 the swimming pool.
Zuma denied he had acted dishonestly over the upgrade.In April, the president 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.