'Zuma's upgrade needed'
President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla homestead needs to be upgraded to house both his staff and those of visiting guests, his spokesman Mac Maharaj has said.
"What do you do when President Obama or an African head of state visits him? You can't send them to a hotel," he was quoted as saying on the UK's The Telegraph online on Tuesday.
"Where do Prime Minister Cameron's security staff stay when he goes to his private house? President Zuma's medical and security staff are inside that complex, but you can't put them in the same house as his family."
The president should, on principle, not be expected to pay for security staff accommodation and guests out of his own pocket.
City Press reported that R203 million of taxpayers' money would be spent on the upgrade, with Zuma paying only five percent of the bill -- around R10 million.
The Democratic Alliance called on Public Protector Thuli Madonsela to probe the allegations, and for Zuma to cancel the upgrade.
Political commentator Karima Brown said the unconfirmed reports were another example of how the media were targeting Zuma.
"Jacob Zuma has never been an easy fit for South Africa's chattering classes," she said.
"His existence challenges the notion of what it means to be black and middle-class in South Africa, and they will take any opportunity to attack him."