Zuma aware of Nkandla, suggested changes – Ben Turok

2014-05-15 08:20

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

President Jacob Zuma knew about developments at his Nkandla homestead, former ANC MP Ben Turok has said.

The ruling party’s dismissal of the controversy that haunted its election campaign masked a deeper unease, he told the Cape Town Press Club yesterday.

“Nkandla is of course a big issue for the ANC,” Turok said.

“There is a great deal of uneasiness ... It was a shambles.”

He said Zuma was patently aware of the details of the R246 million project because he complained about slow progress and suggested changes.

“The president knew about it because he was there and he complained. He said ‘please don’t put windows there and put them there and there’.”

Turok said the loss of more than 3% of the ANC’s vote share in last week’s elections would prompt introspection in the party.

The opposition, however, failed to understand that “African” voters felt a deep loyalty to the party that outweighed disapproval on any one particular issue.

“The ANC is your family, it is your neighbour, your mother, your father. Zuma can do various things and [Thabo] Mbeki can do various things, it is not that important. The people in the townships love the ANC and there is no cross about that.”

Turok predicted, however, that the 25 MPs the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) will send to Parliament after winning 6% of votes in the election will provide riotous opposition on what he deems the ANC’s weakest policy point – the economy.

“If they are all there, wearing red shirts and making a noise, I feel sorry for Max Sisulu or whoever the speaker is.”

He described the EFF as having “no programme ... no brains” and said they stepped into the gap that the National Union of Metalworkers of SA left by not forming a breakaway workers’ party ahead of the vote.

Turok announced his retirement from Parliament, where he served as co-chair of the ethics and members’ interest committee, in February.

He helped to write the chapter on economics in the Freedom Charter and has been a vocal left-wing critic of the pro-market policies the ANC adopted after taking power.

He said he felt truly stung when he faced disciplinary steps after he refused to vote for the Protection of State Information Bill.

Turok recalled how, in his defence, former Cabinet minister Pallo Jordan had warned ANC leaders that with the measure it had alienated the whole of the South African media.

“He said: ‘Even in the darkest days of apartheid there was always at least one editor who was sympathetic to the ANC. Not now’.”

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.