The South African government is preparing to spend “millions” in taxpayers’ money on President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead, according to a report by the Sunday Times.
The report stated that the Department of Public Works confirmed processes were underway to refurbish the property, repair “shoddy workmanship”, and address security concerns.
“While the assessment is not complete, the cost of additional upgrades and repairs could run into millions of rand,” stated the report.
A spokesperson for Zuma said the president would not allow renovations to his private residence and denied knowledge of the plans.
The Department of Public Works, however, stated that the process was underway, while Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said he had received a briefing on the Nkandla upgrades.
In 2016, the DA said Zuma owed R63.9 million in taxes for fringe benefits on previous upgrades to Nkandla.
This was on top of the R7.8 million he was ordered by the Constitutional Court to pay back for the Nkandla upgrades.
The National Treasury stated in 2016 that Zuma owed R2.3 million for a “fire pool” and R1.2 million for a cattle kraal at Nkandla.
Update – Statement from the Presidency
The Presidency has noted with concern a report in the Sunday Times newspaper about alleged plans by the Department of Public Works to renovate certain aspects of the President’s Nkandla residence.
The Presidency wishes to confirm and emphasise that there are no renovations of the private houses at the President’s residence at Nkandla currently and no government department has indicated any proposal for renovations.
We also wish to underscore that no government department, including the Department of Public Works, will be permitted to renovate any of the President’s private houses in Nkandla.