Reuters International

ANC leader Jacob Zuma greets supporters during his election campaign in Atteridgeville, South Africa July 5, 2016. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo

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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's President Jacob Zuma has taken out a home loan to repay state money spent on non-security upgrades to his private residence, his office said on Monday, after a scandal over lavish improvements including a swimming pool and amphitheatre.

In a stinging rebuke that hit Zuma financially and politically, the Constitutional Court ordered him in March to return some of the $16 million (£12 million) spent on enhancing his residence at Nkandla in the KwaZulu-Natal province.

The president's office said Zuma had taken out a home loan on standard terms from private black-owned VBS Mutual Bank to repay 7.8 million rand (£405,380) - the sum determined by the Treasury in June as the "reasonable cost" he should bear.

A Treasury spokeswoman said the payment had been received.

In 2014, a national anti-corruption watchdog identified a cattle enclosure, chicken run and visitor centre as non-security items that Zuma must pay for, as well as the theatre and pool.

Zuma denied he had acted dishonestly over the upgrade.

In April, he survived an impeachment vote in parliament after the court's ruling over the Nkandla costs, but the long-running scandal has damaged him. In August, the ruling African National Congress suffered its worst-ever losses in municipal elections.

(Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana; Writing by James Macharia; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

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