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S.Africa's Zuma under fire for home 'security' revamp

South African President Jacob Zuma personally benefitted from controversial "security" renovations at his private home and must repay the state, a government watchdog report leaked to a local newspaper said on Friday. The government spent at least 200 million rand ($20 million) to revamp Zuma's rural home, including adding a swimming pool, an outdoor amphitheatre, a marquee area, a visitors' waiting area, a cattle enclosure, houses for the president's relatives and "extensive" paving, said the report cited by South Africa's weekly Mail & Guardian.

S.Africa's Zuma benefited from security revamp deal

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma personally benefitted from the controversial security renovations at his private home and must repay the state, according to a watchdog damning report leaked in a local newspaper on Friday. Government has spent more than 200 million rand ($20 million) to revamp Zuma's rural home, justifying it as necessary security for a head of state. But a government watchdog has found that some of the so-called security upgrades were "improperly" weaved into the project at "enormous cost" to the taxpayer, the weekly Mail & Guardian reported.

'Security' swimming pool lands South Africa's Zuma in hot water

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's top official anti-graft watchdog is recommending President Jacob Zuma repay some of a $21 million publicly funded "security upgrade" to his private home, which included a swimming pool and marquee area, a newspaper reported on Friday. The Mail and Guardian weekly said the Public Protector's provisional report, entitled 'Opulence on a Grand Scale', found Zuma had derived "substantial" personal gain from the home improvements paid for by the state.

S.African media defy ban over photos of Zuma's house

South African media on Friday defied government threats and published pictures of President Jacob Zuma's private home, which was controversially revamped using $20 million (14.6 million euros) of taxpayers' money. State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele had on Thursday warned the media to stop publishing photographs or footage of Zuma's rural home, arguing that doing so was in violation of security laws. "No one including those in the media, is allowed to take images and publicise images even pointing where the possible security features are," he said.

S.African media defy ban over pictures of Zuma's house

South African media on Friday defied a government warning and splashed pictures of President Jacob Zuma's private home which was controversially revamped using millions of dollars of taxpayers money. State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele had on Thursday warned media to stop publishing photographs or footage of Zuma's rural home, arguing that doing so was in violation of security laws. "No one including those in the media, is allowed to take images and publicise images even pointing where the possible security features are," he said.

S.African watchdog hits out at state over Zuma probe

South Africa's state ombudsman on Wednesday hit out at an "unprecedented" bid to stop the release of a probe into a controversial upgrade to President Jacob Zuma's private home. Four ministers, seen as Zuma loyalists, went to court to halt graft-buster Thuli Madonsela's report into the state-funded, 206-million-rand ($20-million, 15-million-euro) security revamp of Zuma's rural home. Madonsela told journalists that the ministers had sought to vet her report by asking "a court to step in and tell me what to throw out and what to retain".

Malawi summons S.Africa's envoy over Zuma remarks

Malawi on Wednesday summoned South Africa's top diplomat to Lilongwe over President Jacob Zuma's disparaging remarks about the country. High Commissioner Cassandra Makone was asked to explain a Zuma statement seen as suggesting that Malawi was backward, when discussing South Africa's road infrastructure. Foreign ministry spokeswoman Quent Kalichero told AFP that Makone was "summoned to discuss the issue". The envoy held a meeting with top foreign ministry official George Mkondiwa but Kalichero declined to provide details.

Malawi summons S.Africa's envoy over Zuma remarks

Malawi on Wednesday summoned South Africa's High Commissioner over President Jacob Zuma's disparaging remarks about the country. Ntombile Mabude was asked to explain a Zuma statement seen as suggesting that Malawi was backward, when discussing South Africa's road infrastructure. Foreign ministry spokeswoman Quent Kalichero told AFP that Mabude was "summoned to discuss the issue". The envoy held a meeting with the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, George Mkondiwa, in the capital Lilongwe. Kalichero declined to provide details of the meeting.

Mine shooting families picket South African government

Hundreds of demonstrators marched on South Africa's government headquarters Thursday to protest a lack of state funding for survivors of police shootings at the Marikana mine, where 44 people died. The demonstrators -- who included members of victims' families and opposition parties -- want the government to pay legal fees for about 270 injured or arrested miners appearing at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry.

Central African Republic since the March coup

Below is a snapshot of events in the Central African Republic since the ruling Seleka coalition took over in March, as former rebel leader Michel Djotodia is sworn in as president. March 22 Rebels from the Seleka coalition advance on Bangui after a two-month peace deal with President Francois Bozize collapses. March 24 Rebels seize the presidential palace, Bozize flees. France sends 350 more soldiers to the Central African Republic, bringing to almost 600 the number of troops in its former colony of 4.5 million people.
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