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South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has abandoned a May Day rally after he was booed by workers demanding his resignation.

Scuffles broke out between President Zuma’s supporters and opponents, resulting in all speeches being canceled.

The main labor federation, Cosatu, called on Jacob Zuma to step down last month after he sacked his widely respected finance minister.

President Zuma’s allies say he will remain in office until his term ends in 2019.

He was seen on live TV hastily leaving the podium and being whisked away in a motorcade from the rally in Bloemfontein city, Reuters reports.

Jacob Zuma attended the rally despite the fact that powerful affiliates of Cosatu, the Congress of South African Trade Unions, had opposed his presence.

Cosatu is part of a formal alliance with the governing African National Congress (ANC).

Earlier, sections of the crowd sang a song which, loosely translated, means: “Have you good news? Zuma is going”, heard the South Africa’s privately owned News24 site reports.

Cosatu leader Sdumo Dlamini said the rally had been marred by “chaos”, forcing its cancelation.


Photo Getty Images

The protest required “thorough reflection” on the part of the country’s leaders, he said.

Senior ANC officials were also booed at a May Day rally in Durban city, the political heartland of Jacob Zuma.

Pressure on Jacob Zuma to resign has been mounting since he sacked Pravin Gordhan as finance minister in March.

It led to global rating agencies downgrading South Africa to junk status.

The reshuffle was condemned by trade unions, big business, the opposition and and senior members of the government, including Deputy President Cyril Rampahosa.

The opposition has repeatedly accused President Zuma of being corrupt, and says the reshuffle was aimed at giving him and his allies greater access to government money.

Jacob Zuma said the reshuffle was aimed at promoting “radical economic transformation” to benefit the poor black majority.

He has been dogged by allegations of corruption for more than a decade.

In 2016, a court ruled that he should face corruption charges over a 1999 arms deal.

Jacob Zuma is appealing against the ruling.

In a separate case in 2016, South Africa’s highest court ruled that he had breached his oath of office by failing to repay government money used to upgrade his private residence.

He repaid the money, but rejected calls to sep down.

Jacob Zuma is due to step down as leader of the ANC in December, and as South Africa’s president in 2019.

His ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Cyril Rampahosa are vying to succeed him in both positions.

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) party has lost control of Johannesburg, the country’s largest city and economic center.

Herman Mashaba from the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) has been elected as mayor by Johannesburg council.

The ANC had run Johannesburg since the fall of apartheid more than 20 years ago. It lost its council majority in local elections, although it is still the largest party.

It has also lost control of the capital Pretoria and Cape Town.

Photo Wikipedia

Photo Wikipedia

Of South Africa’s six biggest cities, the ANC only won an outright majority in Durban, seen as a stronghold for South African President Jacob Zuma.

On August 22, there was drama at the Johannesburg council meeting, which lasted 11 hours.

A scuffle broke out between opposition party members and electoral commission officials and an ANC councilor who was sworn in earlier in the day collapsed and died shortly after Herman Mashaba was elected.

The ANC had won 44.5% of the vote, more than the DA’s 38.4%. The left-wing Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) with 11% found itself in the position of kingmaker and refused to give its votes to the ANC.

Herman Mashaba, a 56-year-old businessman, has promised to reform Johannesburg administration.

“As of this evening, corruption is declared public enemy number one in this city,” he told cheering supporters.

“Public monies that have been misspent, misused, over the last five, 10 years or so … we’re going to take this money, we’re going to look after it, so that we can provide basic services to our people.”

Herman Mashaba also pledged to tackle unemployment saying: “Over 800,000 of our residents, one-in-three, are today unemployed. We need to address this and we need to address this as a matter of urgency.”

South African opposition lawmakers have been ejected from parliament after trying to interrupt President Jacob Zuma’s speech.

Security officers were ordered to forcibly remove the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) lawmakers as a brawl broke out in the parliament on May 17.

Two months ago, a court ruled Jacob Zuma violated the constitution by failing to pay back public money used on his mansion.

It is the second brawl in parliament this month.South Africa parliament fight

Security guards were ordered by the speaker to eject the people who were being disruptive.

Guards surrounded the EFF lawmakers who were dressed in their trademark red boiler suits.

Objects, including bottles of water and a hard hat, were thrown as the guards tried to wrestle the lawmakers out of the chamber.

The EFF has denounced Jacob Zuma as an “illegitimate” ruler who should step down.

South Africa’s highest court, the Constitutional Court, ruled that Jacob Zuma had violated the constitution when he failed to repay government money used to upgrade his private home in the rural area of Nkandla.

In a second case, at the end of April, a court said that Jacob Zuma should be charged with corruption.

The case is related to a multi-billion dollar arms deal the government negotiated in 1999.

Jacob Zuma denies any wrongdoing, and says he will continue to “shepherd” the nation. His term is due to end in 2019.

Members of South Africa’s opposition party Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have been removed from parliament after they tried to block President Jacob Zuma from speaking.

EFF lawmakers heckled and chanted “Zuma leave the house” during the president’s first appearance in parliament since two damning court rulings against him.

The speaker ordered security officers to throw them out.

On April 29, a court said that Jacob Zuma should be charged with corruption.

The case is related to a multi-billion dollar arms deal the government negotiated in 1999.

Photo EPA

Photo EPA

South Africa’s Constitutional Court ruled that Jacob Zuma had violated the constitution when he failed to repay government money used to upgrade his private home in the rural area of Nkandla.

Jacob Zuma denies any wrongdoing, and says he will continue to “shepherd” the nation. His term is due to end in 2019.

Punches were exchanged and parliamentary benches knocked over as plain-clothed security officers dragged the EFF MPs out of their seats and evicted them from the chamber, AFP news agency reports.

The lawmakers had earlier denounced Jacob Zuma as an “illegitimate” ruler who should step down.

The High Court said on April 29 that prosecutors should review their 2009 decision to drop 783 charges of corruption, fraud and racketeering against Jacob Zuma over the arms deal.

After the Constitutional Court ruling, the main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, failed in a bid to impeach Jacob Zuma after the governing African National Congress (ANC) rallied behind him in parliament.

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President Jacob Zuma violated the constitution when he failed to repay government money spent on his Nkandla private home, the highest court in South Africa has ruled.

The court gave the treasury 60 days to determine how much he should repay.

The ruling is a victory for the opposition, who said they would push for Jacob Zuma’s impeachment.

They accuse him of using “ill-gotten wealth” to upgrade his home with a swimming pool and amphitheatre.

Jacob Zuma has denied any wrongdoing.Nkandla house case South Africa

A government statement said Jacob Zuma would “reflect” on the judgement and take “appropriate action”.

An anti-corruption body, known as the public protector, ruled in 2014 that $23million had been spent on Jacob Zuma’s rural home in Nkandla in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province.

Jacob Zuma had “unduly benefited” from the renovations and should repay a portion of the money, the public protector said.

In a unanimous judgement on behalf of the Constitutional Court’s 11 judges, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said the public protector was a “Biblical David” fighting against the Goliath of corruption.

Jacob Zuma’s failure to repay the money was “inconsistent” with the constitution, he added.

“The president failed to uphold, defend and respect the constitution,” he declared.

Mogoeng Mogoeng added that public officials ignored the constitution at their peril, and should remember that the rule of law was the “sharp and mighty sword that stands ready to chop the ugly head of impunity from its stiffened neck”.

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South African President Jacob Zuma has made a U-turn in court over his refusal to repay some of the $23 million of state money used to upgrade his Nkandla home.

Jacob Zuma’s lawyer admitted the president was wrong to ignore an anti-corruption watchdog’s report to pay back money spent on features such as a swimming pool.

The opposition brought the case, hoping it will open the way for impeachment proceedings against Jacob Zuma.

Thousands of people protested outside court, shouting “Zuma must fall”.

Police put up a strong show of force, as the protesters, led by Julius Malema’s left-wing Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), marched to the court in Johannesburg.Jacob Zuma Nkandla saga

The protest was against “corruption and cronyism” in government, the EFF said.

The main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) also organized its own demonstration.

The governing African National Congress (ANC) denounced the marches as a “political exercise”.

The opposition parties want the Constitutional Court to rule that Jacob Zuma flouted the constitution by ignoring a 2014 report by the anti-corruption watchdog, known as the Public Protector, that he should repay the money, as he had “unduly benefited” from the upgrade.

At the time, the police minister defended the expenditure as necessary security upgrades, saying the swimming pool was, in fact, a fire pool that could be used in the event a fire broke out at the residence in Jacob Zuma’s home village of Nkandla.

An amphitheatre, cattle enclosure and chicken run were also built.

Jacob Zuma’s lawyer, Jeremy Gauntlett, conceded in court that the report was “binding” on the president, and he was prepared to repay the money within 90 days.

However, Jeremy Gauntlett denied that Jacob Zuma had violated the constitution.

The hashtag #PayBackTheMoney, mirroring the slogan used by EFF members to taunt the president, has been trending in South Africa.

The case comes at a difficult time for Jacob Zuma, who has also been under fire over his handling of the finance ministry, after he sacked two ministers in a week in 2015.

Many South Africans also accuse Jacob Zuma’s government of not doing enough to tackle corruption and poverty.

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has announced he is replacing newly appointed Finance Minister David van Rooyen with Pravin Gordhan.

On December 9, Jacob Zuma sacked Nhlanhla Nene in a move that sent the rand to record lows and sparked a sell-off in bank shares.

Nhlanhla Nene’s replacement for less than a week, David van Rooyen, is a little known lawmaker.

The latest move sent the rand up almost 5% on December 13.

A more experienced Pravin Gordhan was widely respected when he served as South Africa’s finance minister from 2009 until 2014.

However, Mohammed Nalla, head of research at Nedbank Capital, said having a finance minister serve just two days did not bode well for South Africa’s reputation.Pravin Gordhan South Africa finance minister

“International investors are probably thinking: why didn’t the president make a much more considered decision in the first place?” he said.

The leader of the opposition Democratic Alliance party, Mmusi Maimane, said: “This is reckless by President Zuma – he is playing Russian roulette with the South African economy.”

A statement from Jacob Zuma’s office said he had “received many representations” to reconsider his decision to appoint David van Rooyen.

“As a democratic government, we emphasize the importance of listening to the people and to respond to their views,” it added.

Credit agency Fitch downgraded South Africa earlier this month, leaving the country just one notch above “junk” status. It said on December 10 that Nhlanhla Nene’s sacking “raised more negative than positive questions”.

Nhlanhla Nene’s reluctance to approve a plan to build several nuclear power stations at a cost of up to $100 billion is thought to have contributed to his removal as finance minister.

David van Rooyen will take over from Pravin Gordhan as minister of co-operative governance and traditional affairs.

Marches to call for Jacob Zuma’s removal as president are being planned for five cities in South Africa on December 16 – a public holiday.

The US Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates on the same day in a move that could put economies in countries like South Africa under further pressure.

Former Health Minister Barbara Hogan on December 11 called on Jacob Zuma to resign. The highest-profile ANC member to oppose Nhlanhla Nene’s removal, she said that the president had crossed a line and needed to be held to account.

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has suspended any increases in university tuition fees for 2016 after more than a week of student protests.

They have been the biggest student protests to hit South Africa since apartheid ended in 1994.

The students had rejected an earlier government offer to cap increases at 6%, down from the 10% to 12% proposed by the management of universities.

President Jacob Zuma announced the move as students gathered by his office in Pretoria.

Before Jacob Zuma’s TV address, police had been firing stun grenades and using water cannon to stop a small group of students breaking into the Union Building, the seat of government in Pretoria.South Africa tuition fees protests

On October 21, police clashed with students trying to force their way into the parliamentary complex in Cape Town.

The demonstrations have closed some of South Africa’s top universities.

“We agreed that there will be a zero increase of university fees in 2016,” Jacob Zuma said after meeting university officials and student representatives.

“In the long term, there is a package of issues that was raised at the meeting that needs to be followed up – these include free education, institutional autonomy [and] racism.”

During the protests, universities said they needed to increase fees to maintain standards, as they had been hit by a fall in government subsidies.

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According to South Africa’s police minister Nathi Nhleko, President Jacob Zuma will not have to repay state money spent to upgrade his private home in Nkandla.

Nathi Nhleko said that the upgrades, including a pool costing almost 4 million rand ($328,000) were in fact security features.

In 2014, an independent inquiry found Jacob Zuma had “unduly benefited” from the upgrades.

Jacob Zuma has been heavily criticized over the issue.Jacob Zuma Nkandla controversy

In February, the Nkandla controversy prompted chaotic scenes in parliament as leftist lawmakers scuffled with security.

They had been interrupting a key annual speech by Jacob Zuma and demanding answers over the row.

In 2014, a report by South Africa’s anti-corruption watchdog found Jacob Zuma had “unduly benefitted” from the renovations and recommended he pay back some of the money.

However, Jacob Zuma has maintained he would only pay money back if ordered to do so by Nathi Nhleko.

At a news conference Nathi Nhleko justified his decision not to make Jacob Zuma pay back any of the money by saying the upgrades were security features.

For example, Nathi Nhleko explained the pool was in fact intended for use in fighting fires, and he even had a video of four policemen demonstrating how this security feature worked.

A chicken run, a cow enclosure, an amphitheatre and visitors centre were also all classed as security features by Nathi Nhleko.

The South African parliament descended into chaos as leftist lawmakers scuffled with security during a key annual speech by President Jacob Zuma.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), led by Julius Malema, repeatedly interrupted Jacob Zuma, demanding answers over a spending scandal.

The speaker of parliament then ordered their removal, prompting scuffles.

The largest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, walked out in protest at their expulsion.

“You can’t send police into parliament,” said Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane.

The EFF used President Jacob Zuma’s annual State of the Nation speech to question him about a state-funded, multi-million dollar upgrade to his private residence.

They were evicted by large numbers of security guards. Among those thrown out was Julius Malema.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

Julius Malema defended his lawmakers’ actions, calling it a legitimate attempt to defend democracy, adding that seven of his party had been injured and would be pressing charges.

It is not clear whether the guards were police or parliamentary officials: an important distinction, according to one lawmaker, who said the use of police would be a way of intimidating the opposition.

Julius Malema and Jacob Zuma were once close allies but the pair fell out.

The EFF has shaken up South African politics with a series of populist proposals to redistribute wealth.

EFF lawmakers accuse Jacob Zuma of benefitting unduly from taxpayer-funded upgrades to his private residence in the village of Nkandla and they wanted the president to answer questions about this before making his state of the nation speech.

In 2014, an independent inquiry found the president had “unduly benefited” from the expensive upgrades, which included a pool and a cattle enclosure and cost about $23 million.

President Jacob Zuma has denied any wrongdoing.

Despite criticism of the Nkandla upgrade and South Africa’s stagnant economy, Jacob Zuma’s African National Congress was overwhelmingly re-elected last year.

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South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma will be sworn into office for a second term, following the African National Congress’ victory at the polls.

The ANC won a commanding victory in the country’s general election on May 7.

More than 4,000 guests are expected at the ceremony in Pretoria, including Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

Neither the US or UK are sending a representative but officials from Russia, China and India are attending.

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma will be sworn into office for a second term

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma will be sworn into office for a second term

President Jacob Zuma was officially elected for a second five-year term on Wednesday by the ANC-dominated parliament.

The expected formality of the re-election was disturbed only by lawmakers from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), who turned up at parliament in red overalls and hardhats.

The EFF, led by former ANC member Julius Malema, said they dressed as maids and miners to show they intend to represent the interest of workers.

South African media say Saturday’s inauguration ceremony will be as much about celebrating Nelson Mandela and 20 years of democracy as about officially sealing Jacob Zuma’s re-election.

Jacob Zuma will take the oath of office shortly after prayers open the ceremony at 11:00 local time.

Several heads of state will be in attendance, including Robert Mugabe, Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan, and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.

The US is not sending a representative but a White House statement said President Barack Obama spoke to Jacob Zuma on Friday to congratulate him on his re-election.

The centrepiece of the event is a 90-minute cultural show, with performances from local musicians, dancers and a youth choir.

Proceedings will be broadcast at 45 public viewing sites across the country as well as being shown live on television and radio.

Around 20,000 people are also expected to descend on the Union Building in Pretoria, the site of the ceremony, to watch on large TV screens.

Jacob Zuma will get back to work immediately after the national celebrations and is expected to announce his cabinet on Sunday.

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South Africa’s ANC (African National Congress) has won a commanding victory in the country’s general election, partial results show.

With about 80% of the results in, the ANC has 63% of the vote, followed by the Democratic Alliance (DA) on 22%.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party is in third place with 5%.

The electoral commission said voting passed off peacefully in most areas, with turnout at just over 72%.

The ANC victory in South Africa’s general elections would return President Jacob Zuma for a second five-year term

The ANC victory in South Africa’s general elections would return President Jacob Zuma for a second five-year term (photo Reuters)

The elections are the first since the death in December of Nelson Mandela – the country’s first black president – and mark 20 years since the end of white-minority rule.

Dissatisfaction with the government has been growing over high levels of unemployment, a lack of basic services and allegations of widespread corruption.

The ANC is likely to use its impressive mandate to try to drive through its National Development Plan – rejecting nationalization, and emphasizing investment and infrastructure.

The business-friendly plan has alarmed South Africa’s powerful unions – some of which may soon break away to form their own party, he says.

He adds that, on 5%, the EFF are no threat to the ANC but their aggressive populism will keep ministers on their toes, and South African politics more abrasive than ever.

The DA has increased its share of the vote from 17% in the last election to 22%, according to the latest results.

Early on Thursday, DA leader Helen Zille told AFP news agency that she expected her party’s final vote to be around the 23% margin.

“We’ll see how it goes. Of course, we hope it will be more. We did as much as we could,” she is quoted as saying.

The DA has been trying to make inroads into the black electorate – its support is mainly concentrated in the Western Cape which has a large white and mixed-race population.

Those born after the end of apartheid in 1994 were able to cast their ballots for the first time, although only a third of those entitled to do so had registered to vote.

The ANC victory would return President Jacob Zuma for a second five-year term. He was dogged by allegations of corruption in the build-up to the election after an independent inquiry found he had “unduly benefited” from an expensive government-funded upgrade to his private residence.

Speaking as he cast his vote on Wednesday, Jacob Zuma said he thought “the results will be very good”, but added that the campaign had been “very challenging”.

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The partial results in South Africa’s polls show that governing African National Congress (ANC) has taken an early lead in the general election.

With 31% of votes counted, the ANC had 58.7% of the vote followed by the Democratic Alliance on 27.7%.

The ANC is widely expected to return to power although analysts say anything less than 60% of the vote for the party will be seen as a major upset.

The ANC is widely expected to return to power in South Africa

The ANC is widely expected to return to power in South Africa (photo AFP)

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party was in third place with 4.2%.

The electoral commission said voting passed peacefully in most areas.

Turnout was just over 72%, with about 25 million people registered to vote in 22,000 polling stations across South Africa.

The elections are the first since the death in December of Nelson Mandela – the country’s first black president – and mark 20 years since the end of white-minority rule.

Those born after the end of apartheid in 1994 were able to cast their ballots for the first time, although only a third of those entitled to do so had registered to vote.

An ANC victory would return President Jacob Zuma for a second five-year term. In the last election in 2009, the ANC saw a drop in support, polling 66% of the vote.

Speaking as he cast his vote on Wednesday, Jacob Zuma said he thought “the results will be very good”, but added that the campaign had been “very challenging”.

The party emerging as the ANC’s main challenger is the Democratic Alliance (DA) – a liberal pro-business party, led by anti-apartheid activist Helen Zille, which is trying to make inroads into the black electorate.

The EFF, launched last year by former ANC youth leader Julius Malema, hopes to get its first parliamentary seats with its campaign for nationalizing the mines and the forced redistribution of farmland.

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South Africa is voting in general elections as it marks 20 years since the end of white-minority rule.

The African National Congress (ANC) is tipped to win, returning President Jacob Zuma for a second five-year term.

These are the first elections since the death in December of Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president.

Correspondents say voting has begun smoothly with long queues and there is an air of excitement, especially amongst first-time voters.

Those born after the end of apartheid in 1994 are casting their first national ballots.

Correspondents say police have been deployed to areas where there have been scene of violent protests and political tensions.

South Africa is voting in general elections as it marks 20 years since the end of white-minority rule

South Africa is voting in general elections as it marks 20 years since the end of white-minority rule

The ANC is expected to win more than 60% of the vote, but its campaign has been hit by concern over economic problems such as high unemployment and a number of corruption scandals.

Opinion polls show there is disaffection with the country’s leadership but it is not clear whether this will translate into a significant swing to either main opposition party – the Democratic Alliance, led by anti-apartheid activist Helen Zille – or the newly launched Economic Freedom Fighters, headed by former ANC youth leader Julius Malema.

The polling station is at Orlando West High, a school steeped in the anti-apartheid struggle history and not far from Nelson Mandela’s old home.

Those lining up acknowledge the problems of corruption and high unemployment but say they are voting for all the years black people were denied the right to vote under racial oppression.

The ANC’s campaign has drawn heavily on past glories and on the outpouring of grief over the death last year of Nelson Mandela.

“Do it for Madiba, Vote ANC!” campaign posters read, referring to Nelson Mandela by his clan name.

But many commentators say this election could be the last to be dominated by South Africa’s post-apartheid legacy.

About a quarter of South Africa’s workforce is jobless and unemployment is the major issue among young voters, followed by education.

Some 22,000 polling stations are open at schools, places of worship, tribal authority sites and hospitals, while dozens of vehicles serving as mobile voting centers will operate in remote areas.

About 25 million people have registered to vote – roughly half the population.

Police say at least one officer will be on duty at every polling station and troops have also been deployed to keep order at various hotspots.

There was rioting in Bekkersdal township, south-west of Johannesburg, on Tuesday and reports that some temporary polling stations had been burned down.

Bekkersdal has suffered intermittent unrest since last year as residents protested over a lack of public services. Many have vowed to boycott the election.

Polls opened at 07:00 and are due to close 14 hours later.

President Jacob Zuma cast his ballot at his Nkandala homestead in rural KwaZulu-Natal while Helen Zille voted in Cape Town, which is under the control of her party.

The full result is not expected before Friday.

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South Africa’s main opposition party, Democratic Alliance, has laid corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma over the use of state money to improve his Nkandla private residence.

The move follows a report by South Africa’s top corruption fighter accusing President Jacob Zuma of unethical conduct over the upgrade of Nkandla house.

The changes to Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla private home, including a pool and cattle enclosure, cost South African taxpayers about $23 million.

Police are now obliged to investigate the Democratic Alliance’s complaint.

It will then be passed on to the National Prosecuting Authority which will decide whether there is a formal case to answer.

The refurbishment of the residence in Nkandla, in Jacob Zuma’s home province of KwaZulu-Natal, has turned into a major political controversy in South Africa as the country approaches elections in May.

The changes to Jacob Zuma's Nkandla private home, including a pool and cattle enclosure, cost South African taxpayers about $23 million

The changes to Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla private home, including a pool and cattle enclosure, cost South African taxpayers about $23 million (photo Reuters)

A government probe in December cleared President Jacob Zuma, who came to office in 2009, of any wrongdoing, saying the improvements were needed for security reasons.

“We are laying charges because we want the president to be held personally liable,” said Mmusi Maimane, the national spokesman for the Democratic Alliance (DA).

The report released by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela on Wednesday said Jacob Zuma should repay costs for some of the unnecessary renovations from which he had “benefited unduly”.

Thuli Madonsela said that while it could be “legitimately construed” that Jacob Zuma had misled parliament, he made a “bona fide mistake” over which part of the renovations he was referring to.

Mmusi Maimane led a DA delegation to file their charges against the president at the police station in Nkandla, near Jacob Zuma’s home.

Referring to the Nkandla compound, he said: “I am angered because what we see behind us is corruption of the highest order.

“If we allow this president to continue today we are systematically allowing corruption to thrive in South Africa.”

Earlier, Gwede Mantashe, the secretary general of the governing African National Congress (ANC), said officials implicated in Thuli Madonsela’s report should be brought to book.

Gwede Mantashe dismissed the DA’s earlier calls for Jacob Zuma to be impeached saying opposition parties were trying to “sensationalize” the report.

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President Jacob Zuma has “benefited unduly” from using state money to improve his rural residence in Nkandla, South Africa’s top corruption fighter Thuli Madonsela has said.

The changes to Jacob Zuma’s private home, including a pool and cattle enclosure, cost taxpayers about $23 million.

In a more than 400-page report, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela accused Jacob Zuma of unethical conduct.

Thuli Madonsela said that Jacob Zuma, who faces re-election in May, should repay costs for some of the unnecessary renovations.

The refurbishment of the residence in Nkandla, in Jacob Zuma’s home province of KwaZulu-Natal, has turned into a major political controversy in South Africa.

A government probe in December cleared Jacob Zuma, who came to office in May 2009, of any wrongdoing, saying the improvements were needed for security reasons.

Correspondents say it was one of the reasons why Jacob Zuma was booed in December at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president.

Jacob Zuma's Nkandla private home upgrades, including a pool and cattle enclosure, cost taxpayers about $23 million

Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla private home upgrades, including a pool and cattle enclosure, cost taxpayers about $23 million

At a press conference in the capital, Pretoria, Thuli Madonsela, South Africa’s ombudsman, said the cost of the Nkandla upgrades were now estimated at 246 million rand ($23 million).

The original estimate for the work in 2009 was about 27 million rand and the public protector launched her investigation in 2012 after it was reported that about 206 million rand had been spent.

“The president tacitly accepted the implementation of all measures at his residence and has unduly benefited from the enormous capital investment in the non-security installations at his private residence,” the report said.

The report said that while it could be “legitimately construed” that Jacob Zuma had misled parliament over the renovations, it said it was a “bona fide mistake”.

“Some of these measures can be legitimately classified as unlawful and the acts involved constitute improper conduct and maladministration,” the AFP news agency quotes the report as saying.

Thuli Madonsela said Jacob Zuma had 14 days to respond to her report before parliament.

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A statue of Nelson Mandela has been unveiled in South Africa’s capital, Pretoria, a day after he was buried.

The 30ft bronze statue has been erected at the Union Buildings, South Africa’s government headquarters.

The statue, with Nelson Mandela’s hands reaching outward, was intended to show that he had embraced the whole nation, President Jacob Zuma said.

Nelson Mandela was given a state funeral at his ancestral home on Sunday.

African National Congress (ANC) members, veterans of the fight against apartheid and foreign dignitaries – including several African presidents and the Prince of Wales – attended the funeral ceremony in the village of Qunu in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province.

The funeral ceremony followed a 10-day period of mourning and celebrating Nelson Mandela’s life after his death at the age of 95.

The national flag was raised on Monday from its half-mast position, and was flying as normal.

Nelson Mandela statue has been erected at the Union Buildings in Pretoria

Nelson Mandela statue has been erected at the Union Buildings in Pretoria

Nelson Mandela statue was unveiled on South Africa’s Day of Reconciliation, a public holiday which marks the end of racial conflict in South Africa.

“Former President Mandela is associated with the promotion of reconciliation which is why the day was chosen for the unveiling,” said the government.

During white minority rule, December 16 was called the Day of Covenant to honor the victory of Afrikaners over a Zulu army in an 1838 clash known as the Battle of Blood River.

More than a century later, on December 16, 1961, Nelson Mandela launched an armed group, Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation), to fight South Africa’s white minority rule.

It led to his arrest and imprisonment for 27 years.

After he became president in 1994 at the end of minority rule, Nelson Mandela used the day to urge South Africans to set aside their differences and to unite.

During his address at the funeral on Sunday, Jacob Zuma pledged to build on Nelson Mandela’s legacy.

“As your journey ends today, ours must continue in earnest… South Africa will continue to rise because we dare not fail you,” Jacob Zuma said.

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The African National Congress (ANC) members have paid final tributes to Nelson Mandela at a ceremony in Pretoria ahead of Sunday’s funeral.

President Jacob Zuma and other ANC leaders attended the event, which included a multi-faith service and a musical tribute.

Afterwards, Nelson Mandela’s coffin began the journey by air and road to his ancestral home at Qunu.

It is being accompanied by family members and officials.

At least 100,000 people saw the former South African president’s body lying in state in Pretoria over the last three days, but some had to be turned away.

The 95-year-old former leader died on December 5.

More than 1,000 members of the ANC, which Nelson Mandela once led, attended the ceremony at the Waterkloof air base in Pretoria.

US civil rights activist Jesse Jackson and Ireland’s Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams were among the foreign guests invited.

Nelson Mandela's coffin began the journey by air and road to his ancestral home at Qunu

Nelson Mandela’s coffin began the journey by air and road to his ancestral home at Qunu

Mourners heard President Jacob Zuma pay his own tribute to Nelson Mandela, calling him a “towering figure”, “a man of action” and a “democrat who understood the world.”

“Yes, we will miss him… He was our father, he was our guardian. He was something special.”

“We’ll always keep you in our hearts,” Jacob Zuma said.

The coffin is being flown to Mthatha airport in the Eastern Cape ahead of the burial in Qunu.

The C130 military aircraft carrying the coffin was escorted by two fighter jets after take-off.

Chief mourners from Nelson Mandela’s Thembu clan and family, as well as senior government officials, would be accompanying the coffin, army officials said.

However his widow Graca Machel, and former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, were travelling on a separate flight, in accordance with Thembu tradition.

A military guard of honor will welcome the flight in Mthatha, and the coffin will be placed on a gun carriage and transported to a hearse.

People have been invited to form a human chain to pay their last respects as the cortege makes its way to Qunu.

In Qunu, the Thembu community will conduct a traditional ceremony in a giant white marquee that has been specially erected.

Some 4,000 people, including presidents from Africa, several prime ministers, the Iranian vice-president, and the Prince of Wales, are expected to attend.

On Friday, the South African government said in a statement that “the third day closed with over 50,000 paying their respects to our national icon and first democratically elected president of our country”.

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Sign language interpreter Thamsanqa Jantjie, who claimed to suffer an on-stage schizophrenic episode during Nelson Mandela’s memorial service, failed to communicate a single word of a speech made by South African President Jacob Zuma more than a year ago.

The Deaf Federation of South Africa alleged that “100% of the information was omitted” by Thamsanqa Jantjie after he appeared at an event in January 2012.

According to NBC News, the group described Thamsanqa Jantjie’s interpreting for Jacob Zuma as “a mockery” and claimed his gestures appeared “self-invented”.

Thamsanqa Jantjie’s abilities came into question after he was accused by deaf groups of performing meaningless gestures during Nelson Mandela’s memorial service. Some groups suggested he was a “fake.”

He translated while standing three feet away from world leaders including President Barack Obama.

The Deaf Federation of South Africa complained to ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe following the party’s centenary celebrations last year.

The federation’s national director Bruno Druchen wrote that Thamsanqa Jantjie’s sign language at that event was “meaningless” and “self-invented.”

Thamsanqa Jantjie failed to communicate a single word of a speech made by President Jacob Zuma in 2012

Thamsanqa Jantjie failed to communicate a single word of a speech made by President Jacob Zuma in 2012

In the letter, which is dated January 21, 2012, Bruno Druchen compares an extract from Jacob Zuma’s speech with what Thamsanqa Jantjie actually conveyed through his sign language.

Bruno Druchen quoted Jacob Zuma as saying:

“Deputy president of the ANC and officials of the African National Congress, National Executive Committee of the African National Congress, ANC women league , Youth League (crowd scream and applaud) African National Congress leadership of MK military . Leadership from SACP, SATU and SANCO.

Friends from all over Africa and the world, comrades and compatriots, the ANC is the oldest liberation movement on the African continent is 100 years old today. We have come from all corners of South Africa , Africa and the World.”

Bruno Druchen then translated the sign language Thamsanqa Jantjie was using on stage to convey Jacob Zuma’s words (some of his corresponding hand movements are in brackets):

“All heart (ten hand move forward) which had no meaning, together (hand move back to the heart) then the sign for C is used. The hands go down to side and then point left with his right hand (no meaning) sign for beg is used repeatedly and the sign is placed on different levels in front of torso with a rocking movement. Both hands in claw shape in the air with movement with no meaning , then again the sign for beg, tree and the help sign and then the hands go forward indicating future.”

Bruno Druchen goes on to say that the interpreter did not use facial expressions, a crucial part of any form of sign language, and describes his performance as a “mime.”

“The signs used are not recognized by the deaf community in South Africa…the interpreter is unknown to the deaf community,” he said.

ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu said he has no knowledge of the complaint ever being made. He said his party is investigating the incident and reviewing its hiring and vetting procedures.

The South African government has launched an investigation into the Mandela’s memorial incident.

According to Thamsanqa Jantjie, he was paid a $85 day rate for appearing at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service.

On Thursday, South African government minister Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu pointed out that most qualified sign language interpreters charge $125 to $165 per hour and speculated that a junior official might have opted for the cheapest quote.

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South African people are taking part in a day of “prayer and reflection” for late ex-President Nelson Mandela.

President Jacob Zuma will attend a service in a Methodist church in Johannesburg, with other multi-faith services planned throughout the day.

A national memorial service will be held on Tuesday, ahead of a state funeral on December 15.

South Africans have been holding vigils since Nelson Mandela died on Thursday at the age of 95.

Jacob Zuma urged South Africans to go to stadiums, halls, churches, and other places of worship on Sunday to remember their former leader.

South African people are taking part in a day of "prayer and reflection" for late ex-President Nelson Mandela

South African people are taking part in a day of “prayer and reflection” for late ex-President Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela’s successor as president, Thabo Mbeki, will attend a service at the Oxford Shul synagogue in Johannesburg in the afternoon.

Other senior politicians and ANC officials will go to services across the city, and the country.

Nelson Mandela’s body will lie in state on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at the heart of the South African government in Pretoria.

Members of the public have been encouraged to line the route and form a “guard of honor” when his remains are taken to the site.

A funeral cortege bearing his body is to travel through the streets of Pretoria for three consecutive days before his burial next Sunday.

On Saturday it was announced that President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will attend Tuesday’s memorial service, along with three other former US presidents, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.

One government minister has predicted the 95,000-seat stadium being used for the event will be overwhelmed, and promised that overflow areas would be set up.

On Saturday Nelson Mandela’s family gave their first public statement since his death, describing the difficulty of the past two days and the week ahead.

Family spokesman Lt Gen Matanzima likened Nelson Mandela to a baobab tree that had provided shade and protection to his family.

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Nelson Mandela is to be accorded a state funeral on Sunday, December 15, South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma announced.

Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, died on Thursday, December 5, aged 95.

Hundreds are gathered outside Nelson Mandela’s home in Johannesburg’s northern suburb of Houghton, where he died.

They have been sharing memories of the former leader, recounting how they drew inspiration from his life.

A stage has been erected near the house, from where priests have led the crowd in prayers.

One of his grandsons. Mbuso Mandela, laid wreaths in his grandfather’s memory.

President Jacob Zuma visited the house in the early afternoon to pay his respects.

Nelson Mandela is to be accorded a state funeral on Sunday, December 15

Nelson Mandela is to be accorded a state funeral on Sunday, December 15

At a news conference on Friday afternoon, Jacob Zuma outlined a week of events to mourn the former president.

  • Sunday, December 8, will be an official day of prayer and reflection with special religious services
  • On Tuesday, December 10, a service of national mourning will be held at a 95,000-seater stadium on the outskirts of Johannesburg
  • Nelson Mandela’s body will lie in state from Wednesday to Friday in the capital, Pretoria

Next Sunday’s funeral will be held in the village of Qunu in the Eastern Cape, where Nelson Mandela grew up. South African Airways has announced that it will provide extra flights to Qunu for mourners.

Hundreds have attended an interfaith remembrance service outside Cape Town’s City Hall. The Johannesburg stock exchange suspended operations for five minutes on Friday as a mark of respect.

The White House has announced that President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will be travelling to South Africa next week to pay their respects and take part in memorial events.

Flags are flying at half-mast on government buildings in Washington DC, Paris and across South Africa. The European Union and world football body FIFA have also ordered their flags to be lowered.

Parliament in Pretoria is expected to hold a special joint session to reflect on Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy.

Nelson Mandela died on Thursday, December 5, shortly before 21:00 local time.

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Nelson Mandela – South Africa’s first black president – has died at the age of 95, President Jacob Zuma announces.

Nelson Mandela led South Africa’s transition from white-minority rule in the 1990s, after 27 years in prison.

He had been receiving intense home-based medical care for a lung infection after three months in hospital.

Nelson Mandela was South Africa's first black president

Nelson Mandela was South Africa’s first black president

In a statement on South African national TV, Jacob Zuma said Nelson Mandela had “departed” and was at peace.

“Our nation has lost its greatest son,” Jacob Zuma said.

Nelson Mandela was one of the world’s most revered statesmen after preaching reconciliation despite being imprisoned for 27 years.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate had rarely been seen in public since officially retiring in 2004.

“What made Nelson Mandela great was precisely what made him human. We saw in him what we seek in ourselves,” Jacob Zuma said.

“Fellow South Africans, Nelson Mandela brought us together and it is together that we will bid him farewell.”

Nelson Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and was elected South Africa’s first black president in 1994. He stepped down after five years in office.

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Public protector Thuli Madonsela – South Africa’s top corruption fighter – has condemned a newspaper for publishing extracts from her report, which allegedly says President Jacob Zuma should repay $20 million for upgrades to his rural home in Nkandla.

Thuli Madonsela said it was “unethical and unlawful” to publish her report.

According to the Mail and Guardian, Thuli Madonsela said President Jacob Zuma had derived “substantial benefits” from the upgrade.

The government says the improvements were needed for national security.

It has gone to court to block publication of Thuli Madonsela’s report.

Last week, several newspapers defied a government warning not to publish photographs of the residence in Nkandla.

Thuli Madonsela’s reports allegedly says Jacob Zuma home’s upgrades included a visitors' lounge, amphitheatre, cattle enclosure, swimming pool and houses for his relatives

Thuli Madonsela’s reports allegedly says Jacob Zuma home’s upgrades included a visitors’ lounge, amphitheatre, cattle enclosure, swimming pool and houses for his relatives

Opposition parties have condemned it as a waste of public money, while the governing ANC says it believes he has done nothing wrong.

Jacob Zuma’s office has declined to comment on the Mail and Guardian article.

The newspaper says it has had “direct access” to the provisional report by Thuli Madonsela, the public protector.

It said the upgrades included a visitors’ lounge, amphitheatre, cattle enclosure, swimming pool and houses for the president’s relatives.

The newspaper said it published the article because “all the evidence points to a systematic attempt by the government to shield disclosures about the scandal from public view”.

“There are good reasons for fearing that the security ministers who tried to interdict Madonsela earlier this month may be planning further litigation to block its release,” it said.

Thuli Madonsela has distanced herself from the article and the quotes that have been attributed to her, saying that the final report would be released in about a month.

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Most of South African newspapers have published images of President Jacob Zuma’s private residence in Nkandla, defying a government warning that this would break security laws.

Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla residence is at the centre of a row after it emerged that the government had used $20 million of taxpayers’ money to refurbish it.

Cabinet ministers on Thursday said anyone who published images or footage of the estate would face arrest.

A group of South African editors described the warning as “absurd”.

The Times newspaper has the headline “So, arrest us”, above a picture of the luxury thatched-roof compound.

The Star newspaper has a photo of the homestead with a big red cross over it and the caption: “Look away! What ministers don’t want you to see“.

The upgrades to Jacob Zuma’s private residence include a helipad and an underground bunker, which the government says are needed for security reasons.

Jacob Zuma's Nkandla residence is at the centre of a row after it emerged that the government had used $20 million of taxpayers' money to refurbish it

Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla residence is at the centre of a row after it emerged that the government had used $20 million of taxpayers’ money to refurbish it

The contract is being investigated by South Africa’s public protector, or anti-corruption watchdog, Thuli Madonsela, amid allegations that costs were inflated, and that the renovations went far beyond what the rules allow for a politician’s private home.

Earlier this month, security ministers went to court to try to block Thuli Madonsela from publishing her report.

State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele on Thursday warned newspapers: “No-one, including those in the media, is allowed to take images and publicize images even pointing where the possible security features are.”

“It is not done anywhere. We have not seen the images of the White House showing where the security features are. It is not done in any democracy.”

Following the publication of the photos, the government has issued a statement, saying that newspapers are within their rights to publish photos of the estate but “zooming into safety and security features… is a challenge as it compromises national security”.

The newspaper editors say the public paid for the upgrades and have a right to see how their money was spent.

The warning has created public outrage, with many expressing their dissatisfaction on Twitter and also posting pictures of the home.

The main opposition has lambasted the upgrade and called for investigations into why so much was spent and whether Jacob Zuma was aware of the cost burden to the state.

The Democratic Alliance has always insisted that the upgrade was not only morally wrong and unjustifiable given the country’s social needs, but that it is also possibly illegal.

Other opposition parties have called it an abuse of state funds.

They also want to know why Jacob Zuma’s home was classified as a place of national security, despite being a private residence.

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Former South African President Nelson Mandela has left a Pretoria hospital and has gone to his Johannesburg home, where he is continuing to receive intensive care, the presidency says on its website.

The announcement came a day after officials denied reports that Nelson Mandela, 95, had already been discharged.

The presidency’s statement says Nelson Mandela’s condition remains critical and at times unstable.

South Africa’s first democratically elected president has been in hospital since June with a lung infection.

Nelson Mandela, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, is revered around the world for leading the fight against white minority rule and preaching reconciliation with the white community despite being imprisoned for 27 years.

“His team of doctors are convinced that he will receive the same level of intensive care at his Houghton home that he received in Pretoria [hospital],” the statement from President Jacob Zuma’s says.

It adds that Nelson Mandela’s home in the suburb of Houghton has been “reconfigured to allow him to receive intensive care there” and he will be treated by the same health care personnel who have been looking after him since June 8.

Nelson Mandela has left a Pretoria hospital and has gone to his Johannesburg home

Nelson Mandela has left a Pretoria hospital and has gone to his Johannesburg home

If necessary, he will be readmitted to hospital, the presidency says.

Despite his various illnesses, the statement from Jacob Zuma’s office notes, the former president had displayed “immense grace and fortitude”.

The South African government has released few details about his condition, appealing for Nelson Mandela’s privacy and dignity to be respected.

Correspondents say this is not the discharge of a man who has made a significant recovery but the transfer of a patient from an intensive care ward in a hospital to a specially built intensive care unit in his own home, presumably in line with his family’s wishes.

“It is a day of celebration for us, that he is finally back home with us,” said his grandson Mandla Mandela.

On Saturday, sources close to Nelson Mandela told the international media that he had already returned home.

This was denied by South Africa’s presidency, which handles all communications about the former leader’s health.

Nelson Mandela’s lung condition is said to result from the tuberculosis he contracted during the 27 years he spent in prison for taking up arms against white minority rule.

He is been hospitalized four times in the past year and his latest stay lasted 84 days.

He became president after 1994 elections – the first time black South Africans were allowed to vote – and stepped down five years later.

Nelson Mandela’s last public appearance was at the 2010 football World Cup, which South Africa hosted.

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