The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa), which started as a reaction to urban tolling but has now expanded its scope, launched a petition on Wednesday related to the controversial upgrades made to President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla home.
They want the president to repay 100% of the money spent, not the R7.8 million that Treasury determined on Monday he was liable for.
Zuma will have 45 days to pay the money once the Constitutional Court accepts the determination.
The public protector in her investigation of Nkandla recommended remedial action that Zuma should repay the portion of the upgrades that had nothing to do with security, which included a swimming pool, amphitheatre, cattle kraal and chicken run. She ordered that the police minister should determine the amount to be repaid. Her finding was that R216 million was spent on Nkandla, but she identified gross misspending as the major contributor to why the costs had ballooned.
The Constitutional Court later ruled that Treasury, not the police minister, should decide on the repayment amount.
In its determination, Treasury arrived at a figure that was not based on the inflated costs on items at Nkandla. It was instead based on the fair market value of the actual benefit Zuma received. It used a group of experts to fairly price the upgrades found to have benefited Zuma and his family improperly.
Outa’s is not the only Nkandla petition on the international petition site change.org. A similar one by Concerned Citizen ZA that merely calls on Zuma to “pay back the money” spent on his private home had attracted nine signatures by Wednesday morning. It had been running for at least a year or more.
Outa’s petition, however, has already generated massive interest because it is a far more mobilising organisation.
It said: “Our last petition caused waves, created awareness and brought about change in the country through numbers.”
The group’s last petition called on Zuma to step down.
“The government chose to not recognise the petition but the media did and that’s where we made a difference. They helped in spreading awareness and creating change! South Africa is done with corruption and bad leadership. Together, we will rise,” the petition adds.