S.Africa: Zuma ‘should be ashamed’

South African President Jacob Zuma attends a joint media briefing at the end of the plenary session of the BRICS Summit in New Delhi March 29, 2012. The BRICS group of emerging market nations voiced concern about the slow pace of reforms within the IMF in a draft summit declaration that also called for a transparent process to select the next World Bank president.

By: Shain Germaner, EWN

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has been asked to probe reports that taxpayers will be footing a R203-million bill for renovations to President Jacob Zuma’s private home in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal.

On Sunday, Democratic Alliance Parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said the party was outraged by a City Press report that Zuma will only be contributing five percent of the total cost of renovations.

According to the paper, Zuma’s revamped homestead will include underground living quarters, a health facility for Zuma and his family, a helicopter pad, houses for the air force and police units, as well as playgrounds and a centre for visitors.

Mazibuko said she called on Madonsela and Auditor-General Terence Nombembe to probe the claims.

“It’s a huge problem that our president doesn’t realise how unethical it is for him to spend public money from a department that is failing, on upgrading his personal residence — in addition to the fact he is spending money on the village three kilometres away from his home,” Mazibuko said.

Mazibuko added that Zuma recently announced his pride in upgrading the area.

“He said it in Parliament last week quite proudly, and I believe quite disappointingly, that he is not ashamed of the fact that he is developing Nkandla… I believe that given these latest reports, he has every reason to feel ashamed.”

Both the Presidency and the Department of Public Works have refused to comment on the issue, saying details regarding the president’s house are protected by the National Key Points Act, which prevents the department from discussing the issue with the media.

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