Sunday 22 April 2018

Row as Zuma uses €18m in tax money on own house

Aislinn Laing Johannesburg

Plans by South African president Jacob Zuma to spend up to €18m of taxpayers' money on upgrades to his private residence, including a childrens' playground, medical clinic and helipad, have prompted calls for a corruption inquiry.

President Zuma previously claimed that he would foot the majority of the bill for the renovations to his rural home in KwaZulu Natal, where his four current wives and their children live.

Tax money already maintains the president's residences in the capital Pretoria and Cape Town, where parliament sits.

Documents from the Department of Public Works published in 'City Press' revealed the 70-year-old will fund just 5pc of the upgrade costs.

The revelation will play badly with impoverished voters in the country, and comes as Mr Zuma faces a challenge to his presidency at the ANC's December elective conference.

A report in the 'Mail & Guardian' newspaper suggested traditional thatched houses for each wife had been kitted out with all mod-cons. The paper claimed that all the bedrooms were connected to a central house by underground tunnels.

Mac Maharaj, President Zuma's spokesman, said: "What do you do when President Obama or an African head of state visits him?" he said. "You can't send them to a hotel."

Democratic Alliance leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said given the intense poverty nearby, Mr Zuma should be ashamed of such "lavish personal enrichment". (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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