Some years ago during the trial of Schabir Shaik, businessman and former financial adviser to President Jacob Zuma, it was revealed how dependent the then deputy president of the ANC was on the generosity of friends and associates to get by financially.
Last week he told Parliament that the Zuma family was paying for his homestead at Nkandla.
The follow-up questions that should have been put to the president are who exactly in the Zuma family has paid for this lavish expenditure and where did they suddenly, in the space of roughly seven years, acquire such fabulous wealth?
Two other thoughts arise: presumably the money spent was after-tax money, either after paying income tax or capital gains tax. Now I know the president earns a good salary, but nowhere near being able to afford this kind of expenditure. The second thought is: was the financial interest that led to such lavish expenditure declared to Parliament in terms of its ethics rules?
Zuma’s claim that he is paying off a bond is also suspect. No financial institution is going to lend money against the security of such a property in the middle of nowhere and with a murky source of repayment and for an individual with such a suspect financial history.
If a private loan was raised, then one must also ask from whom and on what terms, and is the president beholden to the person?
I seem to recall that a mysterious loan also surfaced at the Shaik trial. It was claimed a loan agreement existed but could never be found.
I am afraid Zuma’s response in Parliament raises more questions than answers. The public protector should investigate.