President Jacob Zuma and his family unduly benefited from upgrades made to his private Nkandla home by about R246 million, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has found.
“It is common cause that in the name of security, government built for the president and his family in his private [home], a visitors centre, cattle kraal and chicken run, swimming pool, and amphitheatre among others,” the report titled “Secure encompass” said.
“The president and his family clearly benefited from this.”
The report was released on Wednesday as Madonsela briefed reporters in Pretoria.
She found Zuma had not misled Parliament when he said his family had built its own houses and the state had not built any for them or benefited them.
“I have accepted the evidence that he addressed Parliament in good faith and was not thinking about the visitors centre, but his family dwelling, when he made the statement.
“It appears to have been a bona fide mistake and I am accordingly unable to find that his conduct was in violation of … the executive ethics code,” Madonsela said in her report.
In November, Zuma told Parliament his residence in Nkandla was paid for by the Zuma family.
“I took the decision to expand my home and I built my home with more rondavels, more than once. And I fenced my home. And I engaged the bank and I’m still paying a bond on my first phase of my home,” he said at the time.
“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.”
Zuma told Parliament he took exception to accusations that government money was spent for his benefit.
“I have never asked government to build a home for me, and it has not done so. Government did not build a home for me,” he said.
“It is unfair, and I don’t want to use harsher words because you believe that people like me can’t build a home.” – Sapa