Former president Jacob Zuma stands to lose his prized homestead in KwaZulu-Natal after falling behind on payments for the famous R7.8 million loan he took out in 2016 from the now liquidated VBS Mutual Bank. Land is on Ingonyama Trustland – Zulu King is only Trustee of that land. But what about SARS, it was an extra income since the “loan” and what about the interest of so much money?
Former president Jacob Zuma stands to lose his prized homestead in KwaZulu-Natal after falling behind on payments for the famous R7.8 million loan he took out in 2016 from the now liquidated VBS Mutual Bank.
The bank’s liquidator, Anoosh Rooplal, recently filed papers in the High Court in Pietermaritzburg demanding R7.3 million from Zuma after he fell behind with his repayments. If he doesn’t come up with the money, they want an executive order that will allow them to recoup the money owing by possibly selling the property, which is built on land owned by King Goodwill Zwelithini’s Ingonyama Trust.
In 2016, Zuma needed a loan to be able to repay the money that was used for nonsecurity upgrades on his Nkandla home. According to a statement released by the Presidency at the time, Zuma paid an amount of R7,814,155.00 to the SA Reserve Bank in September of that year, as had been recommended by the public protector.
A court order had given the president 45 days to repay the money after then public protector Thuli Madonsela found that at least R216 million was spent by the state at Nkandla, and the cost of almost every item had been hugely inflated. A government team comprising several experts eventually settled on the R7.8 million the president was personally liable for, which opposition parties complained was less than 4% of the amount spent by taxpayers, and too little.
The then little-known VBS Mutual Bank was approached by the family to provide the loan. At the time, the Zuma family was claiming they were too poor to pay the R7.8 million for items including a swimming pool, amphitheatre, cattle kraal and chicken run.
The full cost of the loan was projected to run to R16 million.
Court papers that you can read in full below suggest that Zuma started falling behind on the repayments in August last year, and only paid sporadically after that.
His arrears are now worth well over half a million rand, claims the liquidator, and Rooplal has now called up the entire arrears amount of R7.3 million.
Zuma can still file a notice of whether he will defend the summons but only has until Saturday to do so.
It’s possible, however, that he will merely reach terms of repayment again and start paying instalments once again.
Take a look at the full court papers below:
“Pik en betaal” … mag al die ander wat so geld steel ook gedagvaar word, en elke sent, met rente teruggekry word wat die banke, besighede en staatskas so verloor. Waar was Malema se handjies ingewees – saam Zuma.
This was in 2016
President Jacob Zuma has until the end of August to repay the state R7.8-million for taxpayer-funded improvements to his Nkandla home. But, ironically, that amount represents – conservatively – an 85% profit for Zuma.
Combining the findings of the treasury with a 2014 report by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) shows that the Zuma family benefited to the tune of R51.5-million from state spending on their home. The R7.8-million repayment represents only a little more than 15% of that.
And thanks to a recent policy decision by Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini regarding Ingonyama Trust land, the Zuma family will eventually be able to cash in on that state-sponsored benefit.
The treasury this week told the Constitutional Court it had calculated Zuma’s fair share of the Nkandla work at R7.8-million, and the court accepted that calculation.
That amount represents about 3% of what the state spent at Nkandla, not counting maintenance or legal costs since the upgrades started in 2009.
According to a clear order from the Constitutional Court, the treasury said, its calculation had been “limited to five distinct measures implemented at the president’s residence, namely, the visitors’ centre, amphitheatre, swimming pool, cattle kraal and chicken run”.
That big-five set of items came to be the focus of Nkandla inquiries after public protector Thuli Madonsela identified them as the most egregious examples of the state providing comfort and luxury to the Zuma family two years ago.
But Madonsela also expressed concern about other elements of the upgrades, such as a private medical clinic and extensive landscaping. And Madonsela had intended for the minister of police to add to that big-five list, the court said in March.
Instead, Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko limited himself to the big five, then insisted that all five were required as security measures and set Zuma’s bill for them at zero.
By also limiting itself and the treasury to the big five, the court absolved Zuma from payment for five more features identified by the SIU — working on the basis of a proclamation by Zuma himself – as nonsecurity elements that had “enriched” the Zuma family.
The SIU said the state spending on these items, for the benefit of the president’s family, came to:
- R3.4-million for landscaping;
- R4-million for air conditioning;
- R4.5-million for internal roads for the use of the family (as opposed to security roads);
- R10.6-million to move other households away from the immediate vicinity of the core Zuma family compound; and
- R21.2-million for lifts in residences and emergency escape tunnels.
Though the Zuma family has the use of those features, built for a combined R43.7-million, the financial benefit is muted.
The Nkandla compound is built on land owned by the Ingonyama Trust and so is under the control of Zwelithini, in effect making it impossible to sell and difficult to get a loan against. (Zuma claims to have a bond registered against the property even though banks say that would be impossible for land under traditional ownership. Zuma has never provided proof of that bond, despite an obligation to do so.)
But in early June, Zwelithini announced his intention to issue title deeds to those who live on Ingonyama Trust land. If that happens, the Zuma family would become the owners of the land – and will be able to cash in on the 85% profit on the R7.8-million investment.