The South African Treasury has ordered President Jacob Zuma to repay $509,000 of the public money he unlawfully used to renovate his private residential home in Nkandla within the next 45 days, according to the BBC. This amount equals 3 percent of the total amount he spent on his home.
The new figure hasn’t gone down well with most opposition leaders and supporters in the country, especially since the figure is far less than the original amount of $23 million proposed by the Constitutional Court in March.
Mabine Seabe, spokesperson for South Africa’s main opposition party Democratic Alliance told AFP that even though it was a serious indictment of the president, the sum proposed by the Treasury was too low.
“The president should pay back 100 percent of the non-security upgrades – previously we determined that amount to be up to $3.4 million,” Mabine said.
In 2014, a South African body mandated to fight corruption ruled that President Jacob Zuma had illegally used public funds to renovate his private home in Nkandla, Kwa-Zulu-Natal Province, in 2009.
According to the BBC, said renovations included an amphitheater, chicken run, cattle enclosure, and swimming pool.
In March this year, the country’s Constitutional Court found the President guilty and ordered him to pay back the money, which was estimated to run into tens of millions US dollars.
However, the court gave South Africa’s Treasury 60 days to conclusively decide the amount that Mr. Zuma should pay back.
Zuma has since admitted to spending the said amount and has apologized to the public, but he has ignored calls for him to resign even from his own party members.
Zuma, 74, is not new to controversy; a string of corruption scandals has followed him since he became the president of South Africa in 2009.
Less than a month ago, his government announced that it had spent a huge amount of the country’s budget on luxury vehicles for his four wives.
Last year, Zuma endured months of criticism after he dramatically sacked two finance ministers in a span of four days, rocking the country’s economy as the rand currency dropped.
A week ago, Zuma’s appeal to a ruling that he should face 800 corruption cases – dropped in 2009 after he ascended to power – was overruled. This further jeopardizes his chances of serving the last three years of his final term in the event that he lacks support during the coming local elections in August.