Nxesi mum on Zuma 'siege' bunker

2012-10-31 21:00
Thulas Nxesi (Picture: Rapport)

Thulas Nxesi (Picture: Rapport)

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Cape Town - Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi would not say on Wednesday whether the underground bunker reportedly planned for President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla private residence was designed to handle a long siege.

"With due respect, I don't understand the... question," he told the Inkatha Freedom Party's Mario Oriani-Ambrosini in the National Assembly.

The IFP MP had asked him: "[Is] the design of the complex to enable the president... to survive a long siege? Because it doesn't seem the complex is designed specifically to [withstand] a terrorist attack."

Oriani-Ambrosini also enquired, to laughter from opposition MPs, if the bunker was to ensure the "long-term sustainability" of the president should he ever find himself under siege "and unwilling to surrender himself to somebody wanting to get him there".

Earlier, Nxesi dodged questions about the reported R200m-plus upgrades to Zuma's private residence at Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal, acknowledging only that his department met "on a continuous basis" with the department of defence and the SA Police Service to discuss the "implementation of security measures at... state facilities."

Such discussion included the private and the official accommodation of members of the executive, and whether "various projects were executed in accordance with risk assessments done by the SAPS and the defence department".

Asked whether an underground bunker was warranted at a private residence, Nxesi again repeated he could not discuss such security matters, which were a matter for the department of defence.

However, he did suggest the reported cost of the project was not correct.

Asked by Democratic Alliance MP Anchen Dreyer whether the R230m spent on the safety of one person was worth more than the education, health and safety of millions of poor South Africans, he responded: "I do not know where [you] get this figure."

Read more on:    ifp  |  thulas nxesi  |  anchen dreyer  |  mario oriani-ambrosini  |  pietermaritzburg  |  nkandla upgrade
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