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Cape Town - A finding that President Jacob Zuma unduly benefited from upgrades to his Nkandla residence has damaged the government's credibility, Corruption Watch said on Wednesday.
Executive director David Lewis said Public Protector Thuli Madonsela report on her probe into the matter had “severe” implications.
“The massive increase in the costs of the upgrade from R27 million to in excess of R200 million, coupled with the president’s failure to take steps to prevent or even query clearly escalating costs reveal that he placed personal and family interests above those of the public.”
Corruption Watch agreed with Madonsela that Zuma should repay money used for upgrades not related to security considerations.
“Public officials who authorised the massive spend and flouted procurement laws should be prosecuted, publicly named and removed from public office,” Lewis said.
The NGO also criticised Zuma for failing to co-operate with Madonsela's office during her probe, and said this was equal to an attack on the chapter nine institution.
“This lack of regard by no less than the president for the office of the public protector has opened the door for illegitimate attacks and intimidation by supporters of the president,” Lewis said.
“This threatens to undermine a key corruption-fighting institution tasked with upholding transparency and accountability in government.”