Two of president Jacob Zuma’s kin claim that the family is not wealthy and will struggle to pay for his R7.8 million bill for Nkandla without outside support.
This is according to the Sunday Times, following an interview with Zuma’s younger brother Michael, and his eldest son, Edward.
On Monday, National Treasury ruled that Zuma pay an amount of R7.8 million for nonsecurity related upgrades to his homestead at Nkandla. The president has until 24 August to settle the bill.
“If they want him to pay, I do not know where he is going to get the money. He has not spoken to us about this matter and we have only learnt about it in the news,” Michael Zuma told the Sunday Times.
“Contrary to what many people believe, the Zumas are not wealthy people. That is why you are also finding me at this modest place,” he said at his home.
In a separate interview with the paper, Edward said that the family would not be able to afford the bill for Nkandla.
“If I had money myself I would pay for him and relieve him. But the family will meet … and chart the way forward and see if there’s a way to pour in all our resources to help him,” he said.
“We are not a rich family, perhaps if we were rich we would also be fighting these things and taking people to court. We are a family of hustlers and hard workers.”
An ANC insider said that outside help and donations was also unlikely because the president’s term was coming to an end. “What will they get in return?” said a source who asked not to be named.
Another ANC leader told the Sunday Times that business people and ANC leaders “would not want to invest in a man on his way out”.
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe added that the ANC could not intervene either. “The Concourt is quite clear, the ANC cannot pay whatever amount. A structure of the ANC cannot do that because if it’s traced and found to be that, it will be in contempt of court.”
“Our decision is to respect the court order in the sense that the court pronounced itself that the president must pay by himself,” said ANC North West provincial secretary Dakota Legoete. “Our position is that we must allow the president together with his family to raise [the money].”
President Zuma’s salary increase for 2016 was approved by National Assembly in March, taking his total pay to R2.87 million, along with numerous additional perks reportedly exceeding R100 million annually, at the tax payers expense.
Police Minister Nathi Nhleko recently revealed that the SAPS spent more than R8.6 million on luxury sports utility vehicles for the president’s wives, including Range Rovers, Audi SUVs and sedans.