South Africa leader under scrutiny over home cost

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Associated Press

Posted on March 19, 2014 at 1:32 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 19 at 1:35 PM

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — A South African watchdog agency says President Jacob Zuma should pay back some of the more than $21 million the state paid to make upgrades to his private rural home.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said Wednesday that the president had inappropriately benefited from state funding but that he done so by mistake, rather than intentionally violating the ethics code of his office.

The main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, has said it will push for Zuma's impeachment over the money spent on his home, a move likely to be blocked by the ruling African National Congress. Ruling party officials have said Madonsela's report is politically motivated.

Critics have cited state spending at Zuma's Nkandla homestead as an example of alleged government corruption, which will likely be a campaign issue ahead of national elections on May 7.

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