Those who say Zuma stole are lying – S’dumo Dlamini

2014-04-01 17:22

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Those who say President Jacob Zuma stole public funds to build his private home in Nkandla are lying, Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini has said.

“Thuli Madonsela does not say Zuma stole the R246 million people are talking about,” he told National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) members at a Gauteng shop stewards council in Johannesburg today.

“Thuli Madonsela confirms that the president was not giving instructions to anyone doing work there.”

However, the Public Protector did say that contractors colluded with government officials to inflate prices, Dlamini said.

Action needed to be taken against those who were involved, he said.

Dlamini said despite this, people still blamed Zuma.

“People of South Africa pretend that Thuli Madonsela said the opposite.”

In her report titled Secure in Comfort, Madonsela found that Zuma and his family unduly benefited from security upgrades to his homestead in KwaZulu-Natal.

She recommended that Zuma pay back a percentage of the money spent on non-security upgrades.

Zuma is expected to give his reply to Madonsela’s report tomorrow, 14 days after its release.

Dlamini said he had been to Nkandla before and assured Nehawu members that building at the homestead had begun before Zuma became president.

“When president Zuma and his family started to change what you see there, it was before he was president of the ANC,” Dlamini said.

“No, the public protector doesn’t say that, she won’t say that,” he said.

ANC Gauteng provincial executive committee member Uhuru Moiloa said there was an agenda to attack the ruling party.

“There is an agenda set by the media, owned by capital, to come down on the ANC. They [are] projecting this leadership as corrupt.”

He said security upgrades to Zuma’s home were a necessary investment.

“There is nothing wrong with the republic and its security forces deciding to secure the properties of the president. The president of the ANC has not used public money.”

Moiloa sought to assure Nehawu shop stewards that the ANC was still a liberation movement committed to the struggle of the working class.

Dlamini also said it was no luxury to be Cosatu president.

"This is the most painful period the federation is going through."

Cosatu has been at loggerheads with its biggest affiliate, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), over the suspension of the trade union federation's general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.

Numsa and Vavi have taken Cosatu to court in a bid to have the suspension set aside. A judgment in the case is expected soon.

Vavi is also facing an internal disciplinary hearing, expected to be held next month.

In August last year, Cosatu said Vavi had been put on special leave pending the outcome of a disciplinary hearing relating to his affair with a junior employee. In July, the employee accused him of rape. He said they had an affair. The woman subsequently withdrew a sexual harassment complaint against him.

In the aftermath of the suspension Numsa and nine other Cosatu affiliates called on Cosatu to hold a special national congress where new leadership would be elected.

Numsa accused Dlamini and other national office bearers of manipulating processes that were used to suspend Vavi. The union resolved, after holding its own special congress, not to support the African National Congress in this year's elections.

Dlamini said Vavi's suspension had divided workers for two reasons.

"There are those who have decided they will respect the internal Cosatu process and said they will not speak publicly about what is happening. This is the right thing to do," he said.

"Then there is a second set of people who do not care how much damage it does Cosatu to talk publicly."

Dlamini also dismissed those who said they were neutral in the situation.

"In a class battle there is no neutrality," he said.

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