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SA opposition lays Zuma charges

Home of Jacob Zuma in Nkandla

Satellite images showed Mr Zuma’s growing residence

South Africa’s main opposition party has laid corruption charges against the president over the use of state money to improve his private rural residence.

The move follows a report by South Africa’s top corruption fighter accusing President Jacob Zuma of unethical conduct over the upgrade.

The changes to Mr Zuma’s private home, including a pool and cattle enclosure, cost taxpayers about $23m (£13.8m).

Police are now obliged to investigate the Democratic Alliance’s complaint.

The refurbishment of the residence in Nkandla, in Mr Zuma’s home province of KwaZulu-Natal, has turned into a major political controversy in South Africa as the country approaches elections in May.

“We are laying charges because we want the president to be held personally liable,” said Mmusi Maimane, the national spokesman for the Democratic Alliance (DA).

The report released by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela on Wednesday said Mr Zuma should repay costs for some of the unnecessary renovations.

But she said that while it could be “legitimately construed” that Mr Zuma had misled parliament over the renovations, it was a “bona fide mistake”.

A government probe in December cleared President Zuma, who came to office in May 2009, of any wrongdoing, saying the improvements were needed for security reasons.


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