South African taxpayers have reason to feel they have been deceived and short-changed over Nkandla at every turn.
Given President Jacob Zuma’s history of evasion, there is understandable scepticism at the announcement that he has paid back the agreed debt of R7.8 million for non-security upgrades at his family homestead.
Zuma has previously relied on others to settle his bills
So how can we be sure that in this instance he personally paid back the money, as directed by the Constitutional Court? It is a matter of public record that convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik and Vivian Reddy, among others, have previously paid Zuma’s way.
From R10 car-washes to school fees and bond payments, Zuma’s benefactors have forked out. In this latest settlement, members of the Government Employees Pension Fund will be charmed to know they may be helping Zuma through their investment in the Public Investment Corporation (PIC).
The PIC has a 25.26% stake in VBS Mutual Bank, which granted Zuma a home loan “on its standard terms”. Those terms were not stated.
Note that it is not standard practice for banks to offer loans to individuals when the security pledged is land owned by a traditional authority. If that were to become routine, it would be something of a banking revolution for South Africa.
Think about it. What would a bank do if the debtor, in this case Zuma, defaults? Repossess tribal land. Aikona
In effect, such loans are unsecured, which is unsound banking practice. You or I would be lucky to get a mortgage at age 65, under SA’s standard terms. Most banks would not grant a 30-year bond to a 74-year-old man. After all, he’d be 104 when the last payment was due, if he survived that long.
So let’s not pretend these are standard conditions. An ordinary person would need to pay more than R70 000 a month over 30 years, and a lot more each month over a shorter period.
On his salary of R2.87 million a year, Zuma would not be granted such a bond “on standard terms”. Also bear in mind that in July, Zuma’s brother Michael told the Sunday Times the family was not rich, and would not be able to afford to repay the R7.8 million.
So, where will the money come from? Not from Zuma’s salary or from his family. Go figure. Let’s assume the presidency is being mostly truthful, and that VBS Mutual Bank did indeed grant Zuma a loan (even if not on standard terms). That would allow Zuma “personally” to pay the Treasury, thus obeying the ConCourt order.
The crucial question then becomes, who really repays VBS Mutual?
Given allegations that have flooded the media of late, some of us might be tempted to suggest Zuma’s VBS debt will be settled via Saxonwold or Dubai.
And those okes will not be granted “standard terms” by South Africa’s major banks. That’s something they have in common with Zuma.
Makes you think, doesn’t it? Why did Zuma not apply for a mortgage bond through any of the big banks? Would any have approved his application?