Guest Column

ANC’s hysterical reaction symptomatic of crisis

2014-08-25 12:10

Adriaan Basson

This column originally appeared in Beeld newspaper.

The ANC’s hysterical reaction after my column on President Jacob Zuma's bad leadership is symptomatic of an organisation in crisis.

The Nkandla scandal is impacting negatively on the party's ability to govern with moral authority and undermines every attempt to stop corruption and tender fraud.

ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa exceeded himself in his statement where he accused me of wanting to undermine the will of 11 million ANC voters after asking how to get rid of Zuma.

What does Kodwa mean?

Surely not that every one of the 11 million voters support the state’s spending of R246m at Nkandla?

Surely not that the public protector’s findings can be set aside with ease and that the president – the subject of the investigation – can decide his own fate?

It doesn’t look like the ANC will insist on answers from the president. It is therefore the media, civil society and opposition parties (which obviously will try to score political points from this) that continue to make noise about the obscene spending on Zuma’s private residence and the implications thereof.

EFF leader Julius Malema made an excellent point in Parliament when he asked why Zuma continues to ignore the public protector’s findings.

For Zuma to say the police minister must decide if and how much he must pay back to the state, is simply not good enough.

It undermines the authority and independence of public protector Thuli Madonsela whose report has already found that many of the upgrading should have been paid out of Zuma’s own pocket.

Here is the real problem: Zuma does not have the money to pay the state back.

The president earns an annual salary of R2.6m. A conservative guess of what Zuma ought to pay back for the construction of a cattle kraal, a visitors centre, swimming pool and luxury chicken run is R20m. Zuma does not have that type of money. He will have to borrow it or ask someone to pay on his behalf.

We’ve heard this story before, haven’t we? His name was Schabir Shaik and Zuma was dependent on his royal donations to fund his lifestyle. Here are the three Nkandla questions Zuma doesn’t want to answer:

•    Who paid for the three private houses of almost R20m that were designed by his private architect and built by the same builder used by the state?

•    Zuma’s mortgage, to which he likes to refer, was for only R900 000 and was secured with the help of another donor, Vivian Reddy. It was only for the building work done on the original smaller Nkandla. There is no indication that Zuma obtained a mortgage for the building of the three new R20m houses.

•    Many official documents show that Zuma was kept abreast throughout of the scope of the Nkandla project. Why did he never ask how much it would cost?

We can’t allow that Zuma, as with the spy tapes, evade questions for five long years. We need the answers now.

Read more on:    anc  |  eff  |  julius malema  |  thuli madonsela  |  schabir shaik  |  vivian reddy  |  jacob zuma  |  nkandla upgrade
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