President Jacob Zuma of South Africa has offered to pay back $23m (£15m) taxpayer money he used to install a swimming pool, chicken enclosure and amphitheatre at his sprawling homestead in a poverty-stricken area of rural South Africa, UK Telegraph reports. The Presidency said in a statement issued late on Tuesday night that Zuma had proposed that the chief auditor and the finance minister fix the amount due from him in order to “achieve an end to the drawn-out dispute.”
Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, had said in a 2014 report that Zuma had “benefitted unduly” from some of the upgrades. Madonsela demanded that Zuma repay the state for the costs of the unnecessary renovations, but the President had denied any wrongdoing.
Opposition parties, particularly the militant left-wing Economic Freedom Fighters, have also been frequently heckling Zuma in parliament over his refusal to pay the money. The EFF and the ruling party, Democratic Alliance, have taken the matter to the Constitutional Court, with a hearing set for next Tuesday.
DA leader, Mmusi Maimane, said on South African radio that his party would not agree to a “settlement that will undermine the public protector.”