South Africa top court hears case against president over home renovations

[JURIST] South Africa's Constitutional Court [official website] on Tuesday heard the case [case materials] against President Jacob Zuma [official website] over expensive home renovations. The charges come after the president made more than 20 million dollars in home upgrades. In 2014, the state watchdog agency suggested that he pay back some of the money spent on the home upgrades. Last week Zuma offered [statement] to pay back some of the money in order to avoid a public hearing, but the Public Protectors report from 2014 did not detail the specific amount to be paid back. The report also found that the president did not commit any wrong-doing but that the spending on five aspects of the home improvements needed to be determined in order to find out what type of compensation the president would need to make.

Zuma was ousted [JURIST report] as the country's deputy president in 2005 after an aide was convicted of corruption. He was also charged with rape, but he was ultimately acquitted and reinstated [JURIST report] as African National Congress (ANC) deputy vice president. In July 2008 the South African Constitutional Court rejected a motion [JURIST report] by Zuma to exclude evidence from the corruption trial. Zuma had argued [JURIST report] that evidence seized in 2005 raids by the Directorate of Special Investigations should be thrown out because the raids violated his rights to privacy and a fair trial. The court upheld the warrants used in the raids, confirming a November 2007 decision [JURIST report] by the Supreme Court of Appeal. He was first charged with corruption in 2005, but those charges were later dismissed [JURIST report] because prosecutors failed to follow proper procedures.

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