South Africa’s highest court ruled Thursday that President Jacob Zuma violated the constitution when he used $15 million in state funds to upgrade his private estate.
The Constitutional Court ordered Zuma to repay the money used for non-security upgrades to his Nkandla home, including a swimming pool, chicken run, cattle enclosure, and an amphitheater. The national treasury will determine the amount owed within 60 days; Zuma has 45 days to pay following that decision.
Zuma “has noted and respects” the court decision, a government spokesman said in a statement.
“The President appreciates and reaffirms the powers of the Constitutional Court as a final arbiter on matters of the Constitution in the Republic of South Africa,” the statement said.
In 2014, South Africa’s public protector, Thuli Madonsela, issued a report that found funds were used for non-security renovations and recommended that Zuma repay the money. But Zuma said the public protector’s recommendation was advice, not an order, and claimed other officials authorized the upgrades without his knowledge. He then ordered his own investigations conducted by the police and public-works ministries. One report described Zuma’s swimming pool as a reservoir to fight fire and, therefore, a security measure. Two opposition parties—Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the Democratic Alliance (DA)—appealed to the Constitutional Court.