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Zuma rocked by house scandal

Friday, Mar 21, 2014 - 02:16

March 21 - South Africa's President Zuma's reputation takes another battering as the main opposition party lays corruption charges over a multimillion dollar house revamp. David Pollard reports.

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Swimming pool, amphitheatre, cattle enclosure ... all the trappings of a luxury South African home. And another headache for its occupier, Jacob Zuma. The president's residence had a multi-million dollar upgrade, ostensibly for security. The president himself is accused of 'flagrant abuse' of public funds as it was done. Charges have now been filed by opposition party leaders - including the Democratic Alliance's Mmusi Maimane. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DEMOCRATIC ALLIANCE (DA) GAUTENG LEADER, MMUSI MAIMANE, SAYING: "I believe that President Zuma has benefitted personally and his architect Makhanya benefited through this result and therefore a criminal process must take place." Scandal has plagued Zuma since he came to power in 2009. Along with the charges, the opposition now wants to impeach him. That's likely to fail, but many South Africans feel that he and others in the ruling ANC are lining their pockets - while millions remain in poverty. David Lewis is with the South African watchdog organisation, Corruption Watch. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CORRUPTION WATCH DIRECTOR, DAVID LEWIS, SAYING: "This is a particularly egregious case because this is the case of an individual who is being accorded enormous privilege, an individual who is a final custodian of public resources. So it doesn't say a lot of good .... that the ruling party can't do what should be done under the circumstances." The ANC faces an election in just six weeks' time. Secretary general, Gwede Mantashe, says appropiate action will be taken against wrongdoers - no exception. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ANC GENERAL SECRETARY GENERAL, GWEDE MANTASHE, SAYING: "All those in violation and that includes the president, when we say all we mean all.'' But while the ANC is still tipped to win the polls, many voters have their doubts. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JOHANNESBURG RESIDENT, ELISE NIGHTINGALE, SAYING: "Using the taxpayer's money to do something like that, I am really dismayed and he will definitely not get my vote." (SOUNDBITE) ( English) JOHANNESBURG RESIDENT, KATHY MCARTHUR, SAYING: "There is the poor underprivileged children; why doesn't he help them?" The bill for the upgrade project ballooned from an initial six million to 23 million dollars by the time it was completed. That's eight times what was spent on a similar project for Nelson Mandela.

Zuma rocked by house scandal

Friday, Mar 21, 2014 - 02:16

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