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S.Africa's ANC calls for release of report on Zuma home upgrade

Source: Reuters - Tue, 3 Dec 2013 04:33 PM
Author: Reuters
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South African President Jacob Zuma reacts during a news conference at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo November 17, 2013. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte
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JOHANNESBURG, Dec 3 (Reuters) - The ANC called on Tuesday for South Africa's corruption watchdog to release a partially leaked report into a $21 million upgrade of President Jacob Zuma's private home, saying delays could dent his image ahead of at 2014 election.

The Mail and Guardian newspaper reported last Friday that an investigation by the watchdog recommended that Zuma should pay some of the costs for the revamp of his rural homestead which included a swimming pool, a soccer pitch and a cattle enclosure.

Thousands of South Africans called for Zuma's impeachment after the news report, outraged by what they saw as inappropriate public spending on luxury items. Zuma has always said his family, not the state, paid for the upgrades to his home.

"We reiterate our demand that the final report, not leaked snippets, is released with immediate effect," ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe told journalists after a meeting of the party's leadership which included Zuma.

"Any further postponement can only be construed as a delaying tactic and a political ploy to create negativity around the image and the integrity of the president of the ANC and the African National Congress itself."

Mantashe said the ANC could not comment on whether Zuma should be impeached as it was a parliamentary matter.

The report could hurt the ANC in the election as it adds to perceptions of corruption among the political elite while millions of ordinary South Africans wallow in poverty.

The government argues the renovations were made for security purposes and in November went to court to seek a delay on release of the report, arguing it needed more time to determine whether Zuma's security had been compromised. (Reporting by Peroshni Govender; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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