NKANDLA – South African President Jacob Zuma has pledged to pay back every sent spent on upgrading his private homestead at Nkandla in rural KwaZulu-Natal, newspapers reported today.
The announcement came after the release of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s damning report, aptly titled “Secure in Comfort”. The report found that Zuma was not only aware of the developments at Nkandla, but also complicit in planning the improvements.
The report also found that many of the upgrades to the homestead were not security related, but only served to add to Msholozi’s personal luxury, and that service delivery programs were negatively affected by Project Nkandla. Madonzela recommended that the president and his family pay their share of the excessive amount of R206 million splurged on private comfort.
Jacob Zuma apologised to the public for the deception, and promised to return tax money for certain additions, including the fire pool, retaining wall amphitheatre, bulletproof air conditioning, Jurassic Park cattle kraal, radio controlled chicken coop, the Lex Luther™ helipad and the friendly neighbourhood tuck shop, to the relevant department. “It has come to my attention that people are very angry and might not vote for me in the next election,” Zuma said in a press briefing at the Nkandla Police Station. “Therefore, I realise that I must make more promises.”
The president explained that he will reallocate funds from the Department of Basic Education, as well as the Department of Arts and Culture towards the Department of Public Works (The department responsible for upgrading his home, and consequently the department that lost money), in order to make up for the funds lost for his personal Nkandla gain. “I believe that it is not fair for me and my family to benefit while others suffer,” said Zuma. “We will replace the money used on my house, and use it to build houses for others.”
Patricia de Lille of the Democratic Alliance remarked that directing funds from other departments is still using taxpayer money. In reply, Zuma insisted that profits from parastatal companies like SAA and Eskom will be used to replenish all redirected funds, and that in time, all tax money wasted on Nkandla will be reimbursed. “Using education funding to fund service delivery is only temporary,” Zuma said. “Parastatal profits will be used to reimburse state departments, thereby decreasing the amount of taxpayer money used for Nkandla to zero.”
When it was pointed out that those companies only survive due to government bailouts and that eventually, it will be taxpayer money that will be used to restore the companies that reimbursed the taxpayers’ money, Zuma replied, “We’ll kill the Ouroboros when we get there.”
Several commentators criticised Zuma for using funds from education, arts and culture, when there are so many other funds to exploit. “I can’t use money from the police or the military,” scoffed Zuma. “I need them to protect me.” BN
Radebe understands that you really need to look politics from all sides, weigh up all options and come to terms with what politics is before you can write about politics. This takes time and resources, and he never makes a deadline. Still, his ill-conceived articles are better than it would have been if he rushed it to meet demands. Even if we can never print it, because it’s too late.
- Zuma Takes Positives on Nkandla Report (Taung Taily News)
- My Response to the ANC on the Public Protector Report (Akanyang Africa)
- The Spear, the Marikana massacre and the upgrading of Nkandla: mirroring the decline of South African democracy (Mikevangraan)
- Sister Act: A nun, me and President Zuma in Nkandla (Katherine Child)
- Expect No Surprises in Retrospect (Rolbos)