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Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma said on Monday that criminals broke into his rural homestead more than a decade ago and raped his wife, as he sought to explain the R246 million security upgrade to Nkandla ahead of elections.
Zuma said the culprits were “arrested, charged, convicted,” recounting a previously unpublicised event at Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal before he took over as president in 2009.
Zuma did not say which of the four wives he had at the time was the victim. One has since committed suicide and he has divorced the African Union chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Zuma was speaking at an ANC election briefing in Joburg.
Zuma also dismissed suggestions that the allegations of corruption around the spending on his Nkandla homestead were a liability for the ANC in the election campaign.
“The people are not worried about it,” said Zuma, saying that “not a single person” asked about Nkandla during his campaigning around the country and that it was only the media talking about it.
He said he still has to complete his response to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela on her report.
Zuma referred to both the Public Protector report and the government task team report on Nkandla, saying neither found him to have been corrupt.
He said the media acted unfairly by labelling him a corrupt leader.
“It's very much unfair... Neither of the two reports say I abused government money,” he said.
He said this was a major allegation, and that the media had not been telling the truth.
“I've not expressed my total views on this matter... It has been investigated, there was no finding of misconduct.”
He spoke in the third person, saying: “No government has built Zuma's house.”
The newspapers that published pictures of his Nkandla homestead were misinforming people.
“You give an impression that this man is gone to that massive thing built there,” he said.
“In the picture, a clinic for the government... is put as part of my homestead.”
He reiterated that he was paying a bond, and was running a country, not a construction company.
“It's not fair when you give a picture of Zuma's house and a narrative that is not correct.”
Zuma stressed he was also a citizen who had rights.
“I am also a citizen. I need protection also. The (Public) Protector's report does not say Zuma abused money of government. I don't think it is fair treatment to a citizen.”
He said the media went overboard sometimes when reporting on matters. - Sapa-AFP