Eshowe. (Amanda Khoza, News24)
Eshowe – A local accommodation establishment in Eshowe has praised President Jacob Zuma’s bodyguards, saying the men in suits were always on their best behaviour when they stayed over.
The woman, who chose to remain anonymous and asked that her establishment not be named, said having Zuma’s home about an hour away had improved local business in the small town, particularly the hospitality industry.
The nearest accommodation one has to book when visiting the KwaNxamalala village, where the controversial homestead is located, is in Eshowe.
The Nkandla CBD is located about 50km from the homestead and when there are festivities at the homestead, accommodation is always fully booked in Eshowe.
The establishment, which opened a year ago, has enjoyed the support from the presidency, local and provincial government since it opened.
Prices at the guest lodge range from about R800 to R900 per person.
"The bodyguards sleep here, they support all the bed and breakfasts in the town and we all work together and support one another."
The woman said before the bodyguards arrive, she receives a phone call directly from the presidency asking for accommodation.
"They usually arrive in the morning, go there [Nkandla homestead] and come back very late in the evening. They are very friendly, some of them tell you which room they want to sleep in because they have used it before.
"They are so well behaved, no girlfriends or prostitutes. They are so disciplined and polite. We have a braai area and they usually ask for permission before they use it.
"Every bodyguard that I have had here was respectful and respected others."
The source said if their establishment was fully booked, they would call other establishments in the area to accommodate them.
"We are a very close-knit community."
Speaking about Eshowe folk, she said people were friendly.
"Most people are just wary, in terms of safety. Most of the people are friendly, well, you have to be friendly in the hospitality industry. Generally, people are nice if you are nice to them."
She said she would go and vote on August 3.
"The main thing that we vote for is a party that will deliver services."
She said one thing that irked the community was the repairing of Kangela Street, one of the main streets leading out of Eshowe, which was taking long.
"Why can’t they do like how they do in Joburg, fix the road at night and we wake up in the morning and the road is fixed," she said.
News24 drove along Kangela Street, which stretches on for about 2km.
Only one lane is open and there is a stop-and-go where motorists wait about 15 minutes on a quiet Sunday afternoon.
News24 visited about eight local accommodation establishments off Kangela Street and Osbourne Road on Sunday and some owners did not open their gates while others refused to be interviewed.
- Find everything you need to know about the 2016 Local Government Elections at our News24 Elections site, including the latest news and detailed, interactive maps for how South Africa has voted over the past 3 elections, or download the app for iOS and Android.