President Jacob Zuma has finally paid back the Nkandla money — and took out a bond to raise the cash.
The presidency confirmed yesterday that Zuma had complied with a Constitutional Court order that he repay the State R7.8 million for luxury upgrades to his private home in KwaZulu-Natal.
“President Zuma has paid over the amount of R7 814 155.00 to the South African Reserve Bank as ordered by the Constitutional Court of South Africa in respect of his private homestead at Nkandla,” the presidency said.
“The President raised the amount through a home loan obtained from VBS Mutual Bank on its standard terms, one of the few financial institutions which offer home loans in respect of land owned by traditional authorities,” it added, referring to the fact that his rural estate stands on land owned by the Ingonyama Trust.
National Treasury also confirmed that Zuma had transferred the amount it calculated as a “reasonable portion” of the R216 million spent upgrading security at his home.
The final calculation was made public in June, after the Constitutional Court found that Zuma failed to uphold the Constitution by defying Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s directive that he refund the State because he had unduly benefited from non-security items included in the project.
These famously included a swimming pool, cattle kraal, chicken run, amphitheatre and visitors’ centre, which the police ministry and Parliament had tried to pass off as legitimate public expenditure by claiming that each item doubled up as a vital security measure.
Zuma’s repayment comes a day before he is due to answer questions from MPs in the National Assembly.
The EFF is likely to claim it as a political victory as they continually heckled the president with chants of “pay back the money” in parliament.
Today will also see MPs demand answers from the president on a perceived rift between himself and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan over control of state spending.
And DA leader Mmusi Maimane is due to ask Zuma about the controversial decision by Cabinet last month to give Zuma oversight over state-owned enterprises.