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Madonsela: Zuma should do the right thing

Thuli Madonsela says Jacob Zuma should pay back a portion of the costs of the Nkandla upgrades.

FILE: Thuli Madonsela. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has suggested that President Jacob Zuma should do the "right thing" by paying back a portion of the costs of the Nkandla upgrades, even if he didn't ask for them.

But Madonsela tread carefully when asked to comment on Zuma telling the media he would not pay back a cent of his Nkdandla upgrade as he never asked for it.

The public protector found Zuma improperly benefitted from the quarter of a billion rand upgrades at his KwaZulu-Natal home.

Madonsela says she never specified in her report the amount of money Zuma should pay back to the tax payer for his Nkandla upgrades, but he should use his own discretion with the assistance of the treasurer general.

"It's not a legal question but an ethical question, about your sense of what is wrong and what is right."

She used an example of someone delivering a jungle gym meant for an orphanage to her house and someone else starts using it.

She said it was the responsibility of the owner of the house to give it back because it wasn't theirs in the first place.

Meanwhile, new data from Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) shows Nkandla is the fifth poorest municipality in KwaZulu-Natal.

Stats SA released its findings on poverty trends in Pretoria yesterday.

Nationally, Nkandla ranks between 10th and 12th place on South Africa's poverty index.

The organisation's Nozipho Shabalala said the Eastern Cape was the poorest province in the country but added that some of the poorest municipalities were in KwaZulu-Natal.