South Africa’s Zuma repays $538,000 in home improvement scandal

South Africa President Jacob Zuma

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has taken out a home loan to repay state money estimated at $538,000 spent on non-security upgrades to his private residence, his office said on Monday, after a scandal over lavish improvements including a swimming pool and amphitheatre.

In a stinging rebuke that hit Zuma financially and politically, the Constitutional Court ordered him in March to return some of the $16 million spent on enhancing his residence at Nkandla in the KwaZulu-Natal province.

Reuters reported that near record unemployment and a stagnant economy have exacerbated discontent with Zuma’s leadership. He survived an impeachment vote in April over the Nkandla costs with backing from the ruling African National Congress (ANC), which has been in power since the end of white-minority rule in 1994.