Is it Real? Zuma Paying Back the Money?

Mar 07, 2016
Author: Ean Barnard

Is it a joke?

It may sound like the Leon Schuster movie, but there are some signs pointing to Zuma paying back the money.

Politics can be likened to a game of chess. And one of the greatest players of the game is President Jacob Zuma. The man doesn’t own a formal education but he maneuvered his way into the seat of being President of South Africa.

Spending R250m on a home is not always a smart presidential move

Unfortunately, the president and his team thought they were untouchable and they allowed the building of a home for Mr. Zuma in Nkandla to the value of R246million. Thus, the voices of many taxpayers echoed all over South Africa with shouts of foul play. Ever since the details of the homestead in Kwa-Zulu Natal came to light – President Zuma’s reputation took a nose dive.

This, however, is not his first blunder according to national media outlets. Mr. Zuma has found several occasions to dent his reputation. As recently as December 2015 the President fired then Minister of Finances, Nhlanhla Nene. This caused the Rand to suffer a huge loss.

Now after many media articles, parliament debates and a Constitutional Court ruling the time has come for Jacob Zuma to act decisively. On Tuesday 9 Feb 2016 the Constitutional Court ruled that Zuma must repay. The amount to be repaid is still to be ruled.

Will Zuma really pay?

More than anything, South Africans really want to see Zuma paying back the money himself. This certainly is a serious situation. There is no way that President Zuma can avoid this. He can’t appeal to the ruling as this is the highest court in South Africa. There is no higher authority to overrule the ruling made by the Constitutional Court.

Mr. Zuma has to pay now. Interestingly, there are friends of the JZ Trust (a trust for the benefit of Mr. Zuma) that have expressed their willingness to help Zuma to pay back the money spent on Nkandla. But, at what cost - and not just monetary cost - is the question to that?

Mr. Zuma conceded that he should repay in some way. But it seems Mr. Zuma still has a few pieces left on his chessboard. We are still to see how much he will have to repay. Maybe he won’t even dig out a cent, because of the support from his business comrades. The master gamesman might be cleverly at work once again.

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