S. African president says wife raped in rural home

South African President Jacob Zuma made a shocking revelation on Monday, saying one of his wives had been raped at his rural home in Nkandla village

South African President Jacob Zuma made a shocking revelation on Monday, saying one of his wives had been raped at his rural home in Nkandla village

JOHANNESBURG – South African President Jacob Zuma made a shocking revelation on Monday, saying one of his wives had been raped at his rural home in Nkandla village when he had been serving as member of the KwaZulu-Natal Province's executive council.

"My homestead was burnt twice during violence. Criminals also came and raped my wife," Zuma told reporters at a Monday press briefing by his ruling African National Congress (ANC).

Zuma was a member of KwaZulu-Natal's executive council for economic affairs and tourism between 1994 and 1999.

In South Africa, local executive councils serve as provincial governments. They consist of a provincial premier and five to ten other members.

Zuma said that, as a result of past attacks on his home, it had been necessary to have security upgrades when he became president.

In March, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela blamed Zuma for using massive public funds to renovate his rural home.

"The expenditure incurred by the state [for the renovations]… was unconscionable, excessive and caused a misappropriation of public funds," Madonsela said in a 400-page report on the scandal.

The upgrade of Zuma's rural home was supposed to have cost the state some $2.5 million. But with lavish upgrades – including a swimming pool, cattle kraal and visitor's center – the total cost skyrocketed to some $23 million.

Zuma has denied involvement in the construction and procurement phases of the renovation, adamantly refusing to pay back the money.

The issue has figured prominently in opposition electoral campaigns in the run-up to May 7 general polls.

Nearly 25 million South Africans will be eligible to vote Wednesday to elect national and provincial legislators.

The national parliament will then elect a new president from among its new members.

Zuma currently tops the ruling ANC's list of parliamentary candidates.

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