For two years, a controversy plagued the government of South Africa. This happened following President Jacob Zuma’s upgrade of his home in Nkandla, Kwa-Zulu Natal province. Although the government had said that the president used the funds for security upgrade of his home, other allegations claimed that he had built an amphitheater, swimming pool (described as a fire-fighting facility), and a cattle enclosure. In a report, public protector Thuli Madonsela accused Mr Zuma of unethical conducts saying he benefited unduly from government money.
After much pressure fro opposition parties and the general people of South Africa, President Jacob Zuma has given in and has accepted to take responsibility for the money spent in building details that do not concern security at Nkandla.
Today, the president released a statement asking the auditor-general and finance minister to determine how much he should repay to end the dispute, even though he “remains critical of a number of factual aspects and legal conclusions”.
Regardless of the president’s modest offer to refund the expenses, the opposition parties, Democratic Alliance (DA) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) which spearheaded the corruption investigation are still pushing for a court hearing. The DA leader Mmusi Maimane added that president Zuma had “done everything to undermine the work of the public protector and the constitution’. He insisted that the president is making a mockery of the people of South Africa by making such preposterous claims.
The legal hearing of the case is due to happen on 9th February. It is speculated the president is seeking to repay the funds in order to avoid being embarrassed in court on Tuesday. Also, as municipal elections edge closer, it is likely that all parties are looking to paint themselves as one with the interest of South Africans at heart.