Youth want better use of Nkandla money

2012-10-08 13:14
Nkandla homestead. (Khaya Ngwenya, City Press)

Nkandla homestead. (Khaya Ngwenya, City Press)

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Johannesburg - About four in five young South Africans feel the money spent on President Jacob Zuma's private home can be put to better use, according to a survey released on Monday.

"The vast majority [84%] thought the money should rather be put towards solving major problems in South Africa," said consumer insights company Pondering Panda, which did the study.

"Six percent felt that as the president, Zuma knew best what to do with taxpayers' money," researchers said.

Another 5% felt that as president, Zuma deserved a better home and a further 5% could not decide.

Pondering Panda questioned 3 477 young South Africans between the ages of 15 and 34.

Similar upgrade

On Friday, Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi said the upgrades at Zuma's residences were similar to those of former presidents.

He declined to disclose how much money had been spent on the security and other constructions at Zuma's Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal.

So far, high security fences had been erected, roads in the area had been upgraded and local fire fighting services had been developed for the helipads.

Reports have estimated the cost of the work to be between R203m and R238m.

According to the survey, a higher proportion of women (88%) felt the money should be spent on solving problems in the country compared to 80% of men.
About 53% of the respondents were aware of the cost to taxpayers for the Nkandla improvements.

Diminishing support

Fifty-nine percent of 25-34 year olds were aware of Zuma's plans, compared to 49% of 18 to 24 year olds and 46% of 15-17 year olds.

Based on the results, Butch Rice of Pondering Panda said: "An overwhelming majority of young South Africans feel that the expenditure of taxpayer's money on Zuma's house is wrong."

"This is the worst possible time for unwarranted expenses to be incurred. Coming at a time of widespread labour unrest, it will magnify the negative perception that many young South Africans have of our country, and the way it is governed," he said.

Rice said Zuma had little support amongst the youth and the Nkandla upgrades were likely to further diminish the support that remained.
"It can only have negative consequences for the ANC," he said.

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