The Friends of Jacob Zuma Trust will help the president repay what he owes for his Nkandla upgrades if he approaches them, its founder has said.
“As an organisation we are virtually non-existent because we did what we had to do back then. But if he needs us individually, we will always support him, like we always did in the past,” businessman Don Mkhwanazi told News24.
He said Zuma had not approached the organisation for financial help. He would also not comment when asked if he would personally help Zuma out.
On Tuesday, Zuma asked the Constitutional Court for an order that Auditor General Thembekile Kimi Makwetu and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan determine how much he should repay for those upgrades to his private Nkandla homestead not related to security, namely the visitors’ centre, amphitheatre, cattle kraal, chicken run, and swimming pool.
Put this matter to rest
Mkhwanazi said Zuma’s decision should be applauded as he had done it in the country’s long-term interest.
“I believe he wants to put this matter to rest so that we can focus on more important things and so that people can stop sniping at him.”
The trust, comprising the country’s leading businessmen, helped pay Zuma’s legal bills during his fight against his corruption charges.
Zuma’s long-time friend and ally, Durban businessman Vivian Reddy, also said Zuma had not approached him for any financial help.
In 2012, Reddy said in an interview with The Mercury that he had lent Zuma money to pay for the first phase of Nkandla and that he had repaid it. Reddy told the paper that Zuma took out a bond for the home.
Greytown businessman Philani Mavundla, who previously publicly said he would settle Zuma’s Nkandla bill, did not want to comment. The construction tycoon told the Sunday Times that Zuma’s backers had discussed his debt.
Neither Zuma’s son, Edward, nor nephew, Khulubuse, were immediately available for comment.