Jacob Zuma has been cleared in a corruption scandal. South African police had looked into publicly-funded renovations worth $23 million at the president's rural homestead in the eastern province of KwaZulu-Natal.
On Thursday, South Africa's police minister said that President Jacob Zuma would not have to pay out of pocket for upgrades to his private residence worth 18 million euros. The president has maintained that the refurbishments at the Nkandla property - which include a swimming pool, private clinic and amphitheater - were for security purposes.
"The state president is therefore not liable to pay for any of the security features," Police Minister Nathi Nhleko said on Thursday.
Zuma did not immediately comment on the investigation when it was announced. However, he was forced to address the charges following his state of the nation address earlier this year, after lawmakers had described him as a corrupt, broken man who had ruined South Africa's economy. Some politicians went as far as saying he was no longer worthy of being called honorable.
The police investigation had come in response to corruption charges filed against Zuma in March 2014 by Mmusi Maimane, now the leader of the opposition Democratic Alliance. Following the announcement that Zuma would not have to pay back the South African people for the upgrades to his private residence, Maimane took to Twitter to protest.
'A success story'
The president is serving his second term after winning the general election last May, and has been heavily criticized for excessive spending in a country grappling with poverty, unemployment and deep inequality. He has faced repeated calls from opposition politicians to step down.
Zuma has struck back, declaring in February that South Africa was doing well. The president said he accepted the fact that the country was indeed facing challenges on many fronts but that his government was determined to tackle all the issues raised during the debate.
"Indeed the country is on track," Zuma said. "Work continues daily to build the country and improve the quality of life of all, especially the poor and the working class. South Africa is a success story."
In recent months, South Africa has been dealing with a wave of violence against migrants.
mkg/msh (Reuters, AFP)