(Bloomberg) — South African President Jacob Zuma should refund taxpayers for about 7.81 million rand ($510,000) spent on upgrading his private rural home, the National Treasury said.
The Constitutional Court ruled March 31 that Zuma “failed to uphold, defend and respect the constitution” when he refused to abide by graft ombudsman Thuli Madonsela’s directive to repay some of the 215.9 million rand spent on renovating his home at Nkandla, in the eastern KwaZulu-Natal province. The court ordered the Treasury to determine the extent of the president’s liability for non-security-related features, including a swimming pool and cattle enclosure, within 60 work days.
“The reasonable percentage of the estimated costs of the five measures that the president would have to pay personally would be 87.94 percent,” the National Treasury said in the report filed with the court on Monday.
Zuma, 74, has 45 days to make payment once the proposal is approved by the Constitutional Court. While the president apologized for the frustration and confusion the scandal had caused, he said he never intentionally did anything illegal. The costs also relate to payments for structures including an amphitheater, visitors’ center and a chicken run.
Zuma, a former intelligence operative who’s ruled Africa’s most-industrialized economy since May 2009, has been implicated in a succession of other scandals. Prosecutors spent eight years probing allegations that he took 4.07 million rand in bribes from arms dealers and brought 783 charges of fraud, corruption and racketeering against him.
Nkandla: How the R7.8m that Zuma must pay back was calculated
By Thulani Gqirana
Cape Town – President Jacob Zuma must pay R2.3m for the so-called swimming pool, R1m for the amphitheatre and R1.2m for the cattle kraal at his Nkandla home, among other things, according to National Treasury.
A panel of six experts from two quantity surveyor firms helped the National Treasury determine how much Zuma had to pay for the upgrades to his Nkandla homestead.
In its report to the Constitutional Court on Monday, National Treasury said Zuma must pay R7.8m for the non-security upgrades to his Nkandla homestead.
This also includes just more than R250 000 for the chicken run and almost R2m for the visitor’s centre.
This was determined using 2009 prices, when the upgrades to the visitors’ centre, amphitheatre, swimming pool, cattle kraal and chicken run were done, the report said.
Treasury was tasked with determining a “reasonable amount” for the non-security upgrades to Zuma’s homestead.
The panel was of the view that the only element of the five components in question that could be considered to be of a security nature was the control centre at the ground floor of the visitor’s centre, the report said.
National Treasury took into account the current use of the lower level of the visitors’ centre, it said in the report, and calculated accordingly.
“As a consequence, the reasonable percentage of the estimated costs of the five measures that the President would have to pay personally would be 87.94%. This percentage corresponds to R7 814 155 as at June 2009.”
The report stressed the independence of the two groups of experts, who each visited the Nkandla homestead on separate days, and did not share reports.
The National Treasury said these two organisations had volunteered their services on April 12, 2016, without charge, to assist it in fulfilling the tasks assigned by the Constitutional Court.
“The National Treasury accepted their offer of assistance, as it was thought prudent to bring on board the breadth of expertise that resides in these two institutions.”
Finance Minister Pravin Gordham said the report was submitted shortly before 15:00 on Monday.
“The work of the National Treasury has been completed in respect of the order,” he said. – News24