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Zuma must repay home renovations: ombudsman

PRETORIA -- South Africa's public ombudsman said Wednesday that some of the US$23 million taxpayer-funded refurbishments at President Jacob Zuma's luxurious residence were unlawful and ordered him to repay part of the cost.

“Some of these measures can be legitimately classified as unlawful and the acts involved constitute improper conduct and maladministration,” Thuli Madonsela said in a much-awaited report released just weeks ahead of the May presidential election.

The scathing report, which also implicated several ministers, found that Zuma violated the executive ethics code by failing to protect state resources.

The ombudsman ordered that Zuma “pay a reasonable percentage of the cost of the measures” which are not related to security at his sprawling homestead.

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