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Zuma: My wife was raped at Nkandla

The president has spoken openly about why his Nkandla home requires strong security.

South African President Jacob Zuma. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma today spoke frankly about why his Nkandla home requires strong security, revealing that one of his wives was raped there in the past.

The president spent much of this morning at an ANC media briefing in Parktown, Johannesburg, and devoted more than 20 minutes to discussing the scandal surrounding expenditure at his KwaZulu-Natal homestead.

Zuma argued that his home was in a particularly dangerous area, revealing a history of crimes there.

"There were issues that called for security, particularly in my homestead. My homestead was burned twice during violence and, secondly, criminals came and raped my wife during the time I was still the MEC."

Zuma was appointed as MEC of Economic Affairs and Tourism for KwaZulu-Natal after the 1994 elections and became deputy president of South Africa in 1999, a period which found him in hot water later in life due to corruption claims involving Schabir Shaik.

While it's been public knowledge that an incident had occurred at the home many years ago, and at least one media outlet briefly reported on the specific details, Zuma's disclosure is news to most South Africans.

During today's briefing, Zuma also spoke about his lack of involvement in the nearly R250 million security upgrades.

He brushed off concerns around whether the upgrades were necessary or fairly priced, saying the issue did not bother him and was never his problem.

Zuma said he would address the ethical issues in due course, but said no report so far - either the inter-ministerial or public protector reports - found that he was guilty of corruption or misusing funds.

He said his job was to run the country, not to 'project manage' construction sites.

"No government has built Zuma's house," he said.

'WE WILL DIE WITH THE ANC'

With less than two days before the country goes to the polls, Zuma said people he encountered during his election campaign around South Africa had told him they would die voting for the ANC.

He outlined the campaign and said while some people wanted to forget the past, it was the past which created the problems of today.

Zuma said the ANC and its representatives in government had delivered more than any other country on the African continent.

"We went to other areas where people said 'No matter what they say we will die with the ANC. It liberated us. We are what we are now because of the ANC.'"