The DA says that reports that president Jacob Zuma may pay less than R1 million for upgrades to his Nkandla home “would be an insult to hardworking South Africans.
Alf Lees MP, DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Finance, cited an article in the Sunday Times, speculating that based on calculations by legal experts, Zuma may only pay back a fraction of the R246 million spent on upgrades to his private residence.
“Such a low determination of what constitutes a ‘reasonable percentage of the reasonable costs’ by the National Treasury would be an insult to hardworking South Africans who continue to suffer at the hands of an uncaring ANC government while the President lives in luxury,” Lees said.
The Constitutional Court ruled in March that the Treasury should determine “a reasonable percentage of the costs” Zuma must pay for non-security related upgrades including the construction of a visitors centre, an amphitheatre, a cattle kraal, a chicken run, and swimming pool.
The Sunday Times reported that the state spent close to R10 million on the five facilities, which public protector Thuli Madonsela deemed to be non-security-related as the upgrades were intended.
The paper said that R3.92 million was spent on the visitors centre, while R1.2 million was spent on the cattle kraal and chicken run.
It said that while it was unclear how much the amphitheatre cost, the DA calculated a sum of R530,930.
The DA said it believes that in the interest of justice, fairness and accountability the National Treasury should determine that he repay 100% of the reasonable costs, and that the latter should be determined with the assistance of independent quantity surveyors and valuators.
“In determining the reasonable percentage thereof that he must pay, the National Treasury must send a clear message to all public representatives that corruption will not be tolerated,” Lees said.
Importantly, the Public Protector in her report ‘Secure in Comfort’ stated that: “A substantial amount of public money would have been saved, had the president raised his concerns in time, the DA said.
“By failing to do so, the president allowed or caused extensive and excessive upgrades that go beyond necessary security measures to be made to his private residence, at state expense.” it said.
Zuma not only failed to take action to prevent the waste of public funds during the upgrades to his private residence, but in some instances encouraged it, Lees said.
He further pointed out that on 11 August 2013 the president admitted to the Public Protector that, in the case of the cattle kraal, he had requested that it be made larger and that he “was willing to reimburse the state for the cost thereof.”
“The only reasonable thing for him to do is to personally pay back 100% of the reasonable costs of the upgrades,” Lees said.
Treasury has until 31 May to determine how much the president should pay.
source: Business Tech