Maimane was speaking during a media briefing in Rosebank, Johannesburg. He said the DA arrived at this figure through the calculations it made based on Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report on Nkandla. “This is not the question of if the president must pay back the money, but of how much he must pay,” said Maimane.
Maimane said the amount included millions of rands spent on the visitors lounge, fire pool and parking lot, social node with a level terrace where a marquee can be erected and the construction and rehabilitation of Zuma’s cattle kraal.
“The president further remains reliable for the tax on the fringe benefit received from the upgrades. While the DA believes the non-security upgrades amount to at least R52.9 million, the remainder of the R246 million spent at Nkandla does not constitute legitimate expenditure,” said Maimane. The final word on whether Zuma should pay back the Nkandla money rests with Police Minister Nathi Nhleko.
Nhleko is expected to announce his decision soon. This was confirmed by his spokesperson, Musa Zondi, on March 12, who said the minister would make an announcement when he was “ready” before the end of the month in parliament. Zuma last week ducked the question of when he would pay back a portion of the R246 million spent on the security upgrades. He was responding to a question posed by Economic Freedom Fighters MP Natasha Louw, while he was responding to questions in parliament.
Zuma said her question was “premature” and ahead of the parliamentary process dealing with the matter. He said Public Protector Thuli Madonsela made a recommendation on the matter, not a judicial verdict. Madonsela’s spokesperson Oupa Segalwe said last week she stood by her report in which she recommended that Zuma pay back some of the money.
“Section 182 (1) (c) of the Constitution referred to appropriate remedial action, not a recommendation,” said Segalwe. “The only reference to recommendation is found in the Public Protector Act. Even the act makes it clear that a recommendation is but one of many ways through which the public protector can resolve a complaint. We do not wish to debate this matter in public.”