Zille slams '5-star Nkandla palace'

2012-11-04 22:18
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DA visit blocked in Nkandla

Police prevented DA leader Helen Zille and her entourage from approaching President Jacob Zuma's homestead in Nkandla. See all the pictures.

Nkandla - DA leader Helen Zille, forced to abort a planned inspection of President Jacob Zuma's KwaZulu-Natal homestead on Sunday, says he has lost the right to call Nkandla a private residence. 

A crowd of ANC supporters that eventually numbered between 800 and 1 000, blocked the road to the residence and police refused permission for Zille to proceed  out of fear for her safety.

After holding an impromptu press conference, Zille laid a charge under the Gatherings Act against the ANC for blocking a public road.

The Democratic Alliance had wanted to visit Zuma's private residence, where an upgrade, reportedly costing over R200m and funded with taxpayers' money, was in progress.

An ANC supporter was arrested for drunk and disorderly behaviour outside the police station as Zille laid the charges.

Police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said another man was arrested earlier, during a demonstration by ANC supporters, for having an unlicensed firearm after a shot was heard.

"The man was in possession of a rifle. He will be charged for discharging a firearm in public and possession of a firearm," Naicker said.

5-star palace

Zille said Zuma had lost the right to call his home a private residence.

"Nkandla belongs to each and every South African who has to sacrifice the basic services they need, so that the President could turn his home into a five-star, fortressed palace.

"One day we will look at it as a monument to the fight against corruption."

She questioned how the government could spend R248m on Zuma's home, when it would not pay to transport the relatives of the victims of the Marikana shooting to the Farlam commission of inquiry.

Violence

Earlier police stopped her and her entourage from approaching Zuma's homestead, in the village of KwaNxamalala, saying they wanted to prevent violence.

Zille was told she could not pass the police roadblock as there were ANC supporters on the road to Zuma's home. She said the party had permission to gather on a public road outside a school opposite Zuma's home.

Several cars carrying ANC supporters passed the police roadblock on a side road. They carried sticks and sang Dubhula iBhunu (Shoot the Boer).

Buses full of ANC supporters were allowed to pass on the main road.

When Zille asked officers why they were allowed to pass, she was told they would open a case against the organisers of the ANC march.

"We never intended to go inside Zuma's home, we only wanted to gather opposite his compound on a public road," Zille said.

Human chain

About 700m from where the DA group was stopped, police in riot gear prevented ANC supporters from advancing. Officers formed a human chain across the road.

Eight buses had transported ANC supporters to Zuma's residence.

Thulani Mushaba, the ANC's chair for the Musa Dldla region, said the ANC was not happy at Zille's visit because "she has done a lot of damage to his name".

He said Zille had already complained and had all the figures for his residence and, therefore, there was no reason for her inspection.

"How can we hide something she has already got?" Mushaba asked.

He accused Zille of being a member of the former apartheid regime. He also accused her of failing to obtain permission from the local chief to visit the area.

He said that the local chief Muzi Zuma would open a case against Zille for not obtaining permission to enter tribal land.

Police had several armoured Nyala personnel carriers, two trucks with water canons, and a helicopter in the area.

72 hour deadline

Zille earlier gave Zuma and the government 72 hours to respond to a request for “the truth” about Nkandla.

“We asked them for details on how much was spent, on what, by whom, and under what provision of law.” 

Zille said there was no response other than an acknowledgement that they’d received the DA’s letters, sent on 16 October.

She said if there was no substantive response by close of business on Wednesday 7 November, “we will instruct our lawyers to make preparations to take him and the government to court over what is now known as Nkandlagate".

- SAPA
Read more on:    helen zille  |  jacob zuma  |  pietermaritzburg  |  nkandla upgrade  |  politics
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