South Africa's ex-President, Jacob Zuma, has inked a recording deal, adding another venture to his controversial political career.
Zuma, 76, will not earn a fee for recording his favorite struggle songs as part of a push to preserve the nation's heritage, said Thembinkosi Ngcobo, chief of parks, recreation and culture for eThekwini, the municipality spearheading the deal.
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Still, opponents slammed the agreement, which is expected to be presented to local lawmakers, as a waste of resources. Councillor Nicole Graham of the Democratic Alliance called it "blatant patronage" and vowed to fight it, local media reported.
"This city is not an ANC slush fund and we will not tolerate its continued capture and abuse!" Graham posted Wednesday to Facebook, referring to Zuma's ruling African National Congress, which called on him to resign in February.
Zuma, once revered as an anti-apartheid hero who served in the party of the late Nelson Mandela, has fallen from grace amid a slew of corruption scandals.
He has frequently been accused of using government resources to fund his lifestyle while in office and in 2016 was ordered to repay some of the $15 million in public funds used to upgrade his private home.
Facing corruption charges tied to a billion-dollar arms deal, he reportedly was ordered last month by another court to refund legal fees paid by the state in the case.
'He can sing'
The recording deal developed after officials in eThekwini, which is part of Zuma's native province of KwaZulu-Natal and comprises his political base, realized no archives existed of the liberation songs from the anti-apartheid struggle period, local officials said.
They then reached out to Zuma, who often sang the songs at political rallies, Ngcobo said. Zuma is due to perform the songs at a festival in April.
"We discovered that he is so talented musically," Ngcobo told news station eNCA. "He can sing, He can command a group of people so that even if they don't know the song, they will learn and participate."