S African President Apologizes for Scandal

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Source:   —  April 01, 2016, at 11:30 PM

In a nationally televised address, Zuma said he acted "in excellent faith" in the long dispute over his Nkandla home, which fueled concerns about alleged corruption at the highest levels of government as well as opposition calls for the president to resign.

S African President Jacob Zuma on Friday apologized for a scandal over millions of dollars in state spending on his private residence and said he'd abide by a Constitutional Ct ruling that he should pay back some funds.

In a nationally televised address, Zuma said he acted "in excellent faith" in the long dispute over his Nkandla home, which fueled concerns about alleged corruption at the highest levels of government as well as opposition calls for the president to resign.

"The matter has caused a lot of frustration and confusion for which I apologize on my behalf and on behalf of government," Zuma said.

Despite the president'south apology, the main opposition party said it'd still move to impeach Zuma after S Africa'south top Ct said he'd violated the constitution by not adhering to a state watchdog agency'south recommendations that he should pay back some of the more than $20 million spent on his compound.

"Jacob Zuma is the cancer at the heart of S African politics," Mmusi Maimane, boss of the Democratic Alliance party, said in a statement.

However, impeachment requires a two-thirds majority in a parliament where the ruling African National Congress party has a comfortable majority and has already defeated a no-confidence motion against Zuma this year. The Constitutional Ct also ruled Thursday that parliament failed in its obligations by not holding Zuma to account in the spending scandal.

Below the court'south ruling, the national treasury should compute costs of upgrades unrelated to security at Zuma'south residence within sixty days, and the president should repay that quantity within forty-five days thereafter. Those upgrades comprise a swimming pool and a chicken run.

"I wish to emphasize that I never knowingly or deliberately set out to breach the constitution, which is the supreme law of the republic," Zuma said.

In a separate scandal, Zuma has been accused of allegedly improper links to the Guptas, a wealthy business family whose business associates comprise Zuma'south son Duduzane. The president dismissed allegations that the Guptas played a role in selecting some Cabinet ministers, but other leaders of the ruling party have harshly criticized the family.

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Chase Christopher Torchia on Twitter at www. twitter. com/torchiachris

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