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Jacob Zuma urged to repay public funds used on private home

PRESSURE: Jacob Zuma

SOUTH AFRICA'S President Jacob Zuma has succumbed to public and opposition party pressure to pay taxpayers back a portion of the £15 million he used to refurbish his lavish estate Nkandla.

A 2014 report produced by the public protector said Zuma had "benefited unduly" from the upgrades and ultimately at the expense of the South African people.

The body is responsible for investigating misconduct and complaints against public officers in all state affairs also stated that Zuma’s conduct was “inconsistent with his office as a member of the cabinet”.

It recommended he reimburse taxpayers for a “reasonable part” of the costs.

Responding to two years of mounting public pressure and just ahead of a constitutional hearing on the issue, Zuma announced that he would be cooperating with the auditor-general and finance minister who will how and when the funds will be repaid.

The refurbishment of the residence in the village of Nkandla, in Zuma's home province of KwaZulu-Natal, included a swimming pool which was listed as a ‘fire-fighting facility’ an amphitheater, visitors centre and cattle and chicken areas.

The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) and Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), who have called for a corruption investigation, say they are pressing ahead with their court case regardless of the president's latest offer.

Following Zuma's announcement #PayBackThemoney became the trending hashtag on South African social media a nod to the phrase EFF MPs heckled the President with at his apearrence in parliament last year.

Security personnel had to be called into the chamber to remove the MPs who would not stop shouting "pay back the money'" while President Zuma desperately tried to deliver his speech.

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