25 July 2024 | 12:29 PM

The phantom bond that does not measure up

Key Takeaways

Indeed, when the president defended himself in Parliament, he referred to a bond, saying: “I am still paying a bond to this day.”

This begged the question of whether this bond had funded the further expansion of Zuma’s private household beginning in August 2009. During her investigation, public protector Thuli Madonsela wrote to the president, asking him to make available “a copy of the registered bond relating to your private residence and any other relevant documentation and/or information pertaining to the funding thereof”.

In her report Madonsela indicated that, in his annual register of interest declarations, Zuma had only disclosed the existence of one bond in respect of his residence at Nkandla (See “A history of handouts”, Page 10).

The president did not reply to Madonsela’s letter or to repeated reminders. Finally, in a written answer Zuma refused to comply, arguing the bond “relates to the first phase of the development and well before I assumed the office of president … it does not relate to the period of your investigation, nor does it shed light on any aspect thereof.”

From this it was clear that Zuma was referring to the bond raised during the Schabir Shaik era in the early 2000s, for an earlier, more modest phase of building at Nkandla. And in any case, Zuma would not have been able to afford a bond for R19.5-million, as was quoted for the three new dwellings.

The instalment on that amount over 15 years is R197 782 a month. At the time his private residences were completed, Zuma had been president little more than a year and earned a monthly salary of R197 288.

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Buyeleni Sibanyoni and Sam Sole

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