South Africa’s Ombudsman accuses Zuma of abusing his office

President Zuma's  sprawling £13.8m homestead in Nkandla, KwaZulu Natal.
President Zuma’s sprawling £13.8m homestead in Nkandla, KwaZulu Natal.

South African President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma has been accused of violating his country’s executive ethics code and behaving in a manner that is inconsistent with his office as a member of the South African Cabinet.

In a 400-page report prepared by the country’s Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, the South African leader was told that he had broken the very laws he is supposed to uphold by misusing state funds to build non-security extensions to his palatial home in Nkandla in KwaZulu Natal.

The extensions include a visitor’s centre, cattle kraal, chicken run, swimming pool, and amphitheatre among other things, installations that Madonsela said could not be consciously accepted as security measures and which are said to have cost the South African taxpayers and estimated £13.8million ($23m). Ms Madonsela said the polygamist African leader who has four wives and over 20 children must now pay the money back to the State.

Zuma, who became South African leader in 2009, was accused of “unduly benefitting” from the use of state money to improve his rural residence. The report contradicts what President Zuma had told parliament in November last year when he said the palatial home had been built and paid for by his family. Mr Zuma had then said: “My residence in Nkandla has been paid for by the Zuma family. All the buildings and every room we use in that residence, was built by ourselves as family and not by government.”

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