A South African court has handed stiff punishment to President Jacob Zuma for flouting the constitution in using public funds to upgrade his private residence.
Zuma must repay the diverted funds into government coffers, The court ruled Thursday, sparking calls for his impeachment.
The Constitutional Court delivered a damning verdict on Zuma’s conduct after a swimming pool, chicken run, cattle enclosure and amphitheatre were built at his rural homestead as so-called “security” measures.
The president had refused an ombudswoman’s orders to repay money spent on the upgrades, which became a symbol of alleged corruption and greed within the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party.
Zuma “failed to uphold, defend and respect the constitution as the supreme law of the land,” Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said in a strongly worded judgement.
The ANC, which led the fight against white-minority rule and has ruled since Nelson Mandela became president in 1994, said it accepted the court judgement, while the presidency made no immediate response.