Madonsela will investigate whether Nkandla ‘won the lottery’

2014-05-23 00:00

DID Nkandla win the lottery?

This is what Public Prosecutor (PP) advocate Thuli Madonsela wants to determine in her investigation of the new complaints of abuse of power and misappropriation of funds that were laid against President Jacob Zuma.

The investigation into Zuma’s role in the creation of “Zumaville”, a new town that will be built about three kilometres from Zuma’s private Nkandla estate, comes three months after Madonsela found Zuma and his family had unduly benefited from the improvements to his private homes that cost the taxpayer R246 million.

The complaint about Zuma’s role in the creation of the town has been with the PP’s office for more than two years after the AfriForum lobby group lodged a complaint in August 2012.

Madonsela explained the delay was due the the capacity constraints in her office. She said a preliminary report revealed that there was a case to answer, and a full investigation will now follow.

The new town is called the Umlalazi-Nkandla Smart Growth Centre and will be developed on about 200 hectares by the non-governmental rural development organisation Masibambisane.

This NGO is led by Sibusiso “Deebo” Mzobe, a cousin of Zuma, who co-chairs the NGO.

The cost of building Zumaville will amount to R2 billion.

Government departments will reportedly provide more than R1 billion of taxpayers’ money for Zumaville, while a further R1 billion would be raised from the private sector.

Mzobe yesterday told sister paper Beeld he is very grateful for all the state funding given to Masibambisane.

“Without it [the money] the project would never have gotten off the ground,” Mzobe said.

Madonsela said the team who will investigate Zuma’s role in Zumaville is not the same as the team that investigated Nkandla.

“We will look at the alleged conflict of interest. You have the the head of state who asks his underlings for money for an organisation which he chairs,” Madonsela said.

The probe will also check the reasons why the Zumaville is so close to the president’s Nkandla estate.

She asked if the town is being fast-tracked because it is close to the president’s home in Nkandla, or because ­Nkandla had won the lottery.

Madonsela said her team, which aims to complete its investigations in six months, will also look at possible irregularities in the payment of suppliers.

The lowdown on ‘ZumaVille’ project

MASIBAMBISANE is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) managed by the Industrial Development Corporation (NDC). The NDC’s budget is managed by the Department of Economic Development.

The Department of Rural Development and Land Affairs released a report on the project’s feasibility in 2011, in which the following items were given budget guidelines:

• Security centre: R58 million.

• Agriculture and industrial facility: R146 million.

• Commercial facility: R68 million.

• Teaching facility: R178 million.

• Environmental facility: R45 million.

• Government complex: R68 million.

• Housing: R136 million.

The Umlalazi-Nkandla Smart Growth Centre project will be managed by the Department of Rural Development and Land Affairs, the report says.

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