Jacob Zuma family sell Nkanlda

Photo: GCIS / Flickr

Can Jacob Zuma sell Nkandla to solve his money problems?

Former President Jacob Zuma is essentially broke, and now struggles to pay his legal fees. But is selling his Nkandla home a viable solution?

Jacob Zuma family sell Nkanlda

Photo: GCIS / Flickr

With Jacob Zuma announcing that he needs ‘donations from the public’ to continue funding his legal battles, South Africans have been berating the appeal. Msholozi, who receives a presidential pension worth R3 million every year, is now allegedly ‘swimming in debt’. So perhaps it’s time to consider selling Nkandla.

The troubled history of Jacob Zuma’s home

Zuma lives in a sprawling homestead, situated in rural KZN. The Nkandla complex has been at the centre of multiple controversies over the years, due to uBaba’s insistence on security upgrades and an infamous ‘firepool’.

The former president was ordered to pay back almost R7.8 million to the state in 2016, after it was found he illegally used public funds to renovate Nkandla. But that is a mere drop in the ocean when compared to the true value of his home.

What is Nkandla worth, and can it be sold on?

In total, an eye-watering R246 million was spent on sprucing up the property before the end of 2016 – meaning that Nkandla itself will cost much more than that. It would be a simple solution, therefore, to just sell the complex and live elsewhere, right? Well, it doesn’t look like it will work that way.

The Nkandla compound is built on land owned by the Ingonyama Trust. That means it is actually under the control of the Zulu Royal Family, and it’s therefore not possible to sell the property onwards, or even get a loan against. Finding a willing buyer with hundreds of millions of rand to spare would also present a challenge in itself.

According to research carried out by the Mail and Guardian, Nkandla had what was known as ‘a permission to occupy (PTO) certificate’. In addition to this, the Department of Public Works leases land from the Ingonyama Trust for Nkandla’s security quarters. Therefore, a quick sale and a downgrade isn’t really a viable option for Jacob Zuma.