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S.Africa: Zuma found guilty, opposition launches impeachment campaign

S.Africa: Zuma found guilty, opposition launches impeachment campaign

South Africa

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma violated the constitution after he failed to repay some of the money he used to upgrade his private home, the country’s highest court has ruled.

Following the ruling, the main opposition party has right away launched impeachment proceedings against Mr. Zuma.

In a unanimous judgement, the Constitutional Court said that Mr Zuma’s failure to repay the money was “inconsistent” with the constitution, BBC reports.

“The president failed to uphold, defend and respect the constitution of the Republic,” it added.

And according to the BBC, the Thursday ruling is a victory for the opposition, which accused him of using “ill-gotten wealth” to upgrade his home with a swimming pool and amphitheatre, allegations that President Zuma has denied.

The court has given the treasury 60 days, to determine how much he should pay back.

In March 2014, an investigation by an independent watchdog organisation, the Public Protector, found that Zuma spent 246 million rand ($15 million) renovating his home in Nkandla about 150 miles north of Durban shortly after he was sworn into office in 2009. The upgrades include a swimming pool, cattle kraal, chicken run, visitors center and an amphitheater.

Sources say that complaints about the renovations date to as early as 2009, the Public Protector’s report shows, when the funds in question totaled 65 million rand ($4 million), but the upgrades carried on until it ballooned to 246 million rand ($15 million).

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