‘New town’ at Nkandla defended

2012-08-04 00:00

PLANS for a “new town” at Nkandla, where President Jacob Zuma has a large family compound, were defended yesterday.

The Mail & Guardian reported that Masibambisane, a rural development organisation of which Zuma is the chair, plans to develop the town about 3,2 km from Zuma’s home at a cost of about R2 billion.

Half of the cost would be borne by taxpayers and the private sector would bear the other half, the M&G reported.

Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj said rural development was taking place all over South Africa and the Nkandla project was just one of many.

“What is planned at Nkandla is not unusual. For example, the president visited a similar project at Mzimkulu two weeks ago.

“There, R7 billion has been invested, R3 billion in education alone. Where there were just mud schools before, now there are proper schools. There is also a proper sewage system. Unfortunately, development in rural areas is very expensive.”

A similar development was taking place at Ngobi near Hammanskraal in North West, where new schools and water reservoirs were built, he said.

Inkatha Freedom Party spokesperson Joshua Mazibuko said his party wanted to know what criteria were used to select Nkandla.

“In KwaZulu-Natal alone there are far worse places than Nkandla. The president behaves as if he is the president of Nkandla.

“How did the government decide on Nkandla if the president wasn’t involved?” he asked.

Former ANC Youth League president Julius Malema has previously accused Zuma of building a “New York City of KZN”.

Mazibuko said that while the IFP was fully behind rural development, certain areas should not be favoured. “There should be a clear set of regulations and criteria to decide whether to invest in an area. We want to know how Nkandla qualified.”

The ANC has long struggled to wrest control of Nkandla from the IFP and now rules in a coalition with the NFP. Mazibuko alleged the development was a way for the ANC to gain greater support.

“For years, there has been no development in Nkandla, but now suddenly things are happening.”

The development will include a librabry, school, houses and government buildings on a 200  hectare site.

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