Home News No proof public funds paid for Zuma house upgrade: minister

No proof public funds paid for Zuma house upgrade: minister

Published on 27/01/2013

A government inquiry into how a multi-million-dollar upgrade to Jacob Zuma's private residence was financed found that the South African president did not use public money for the works, a minister announced Sunday.

“There is no evidence that public money was spent to build the private residence of the president or that any house belonging to the president was built with public money,” Minister of Public Works Thulas Nxesi told a press conference.

The developments to the ANC leader’s residence in his native village of Nkandla in eastern South Africa triggered a public outcry.

Opposition parties questioned the legality of spending state funds on the president’s private property to carry out upgrades which included a helipad and underground bunkers, according to media reports.

Zuma has always denied using taxpayers’ money, saying the state only financed improvements to security at the complex.

“We took this unprecedented approach to inform the public about this specific project, to quell some of the misconceptions which have been falsely peddled in the public space,” said Nxesi.

He said the state bill for the work came to 206 million rand ($23 million, 17 million euros), lower than figures previously quoted in the international press.

But the inquiry did find some irregularities, Nxesi said.

“It is very clear that there were a number of irregularities with regards to the appointment of service providers and procurement of goods and services.”