DA wants answers on Nkandla pitches

2013-02-12 16:07

The DA in KwaZulu-Natal is demanding answers as to why the province’s department of sport and recreation secretly spent R4.2 million on football pitches at President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla home.

DA MPP Tom Stokes has written to MEC Ntombikayise Sibhidla-Saphetha wanting to know how the money was allocated and how the politically sensitive project was built without the provincial legislature’s portfolio committee being informed.

Stokes made the intervention after The Mercury newspaper reported that the facility had been built at the expense of the department, with additional sponsorship of R650 000 from South African Breweries. The Mercury reported that the Astroturf pitches had been built next to Zuma’s home after the initial site, about 7km away, was found to be unsuitable.

The existence of the fields was first made public last year when City Press exposed the more than R250 million “security upgrade’’ to Zuma’s home.

Stokes said the DA found it “extremely disturbing’’ that such a high-profile project had been “kept secret from the portfolio committee responsible for the oversight of the department’s infrastructure’’.

“At the very least, committee members should have been invited to the opening of the facilities and been given a brief on why this site was chosen above other sites in the district,’’ he said.

He has requested that the sport department give the committee answers by its next meeting on Wednesday as to why they were not briefed, how the site was chosen and which part of the department’s budget it was allocated from.

“We acknowledge that there may well be legitimate reasons for choosing Nkandla as a sports centre. But the lack of transparency around the project, particularly considering the political sensitivity surrounding it, suggests that not all is right and proper,’’ Stokes said.

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