‘R800 a month enough for Nkandla’

2013-06-10 00:00

THE R800 monthly lease by President Jacob Zuma on the land owned by Ingonyama Trust Board where his Nkandla compound is built is “reasonable and slightly above” what business people leasing land from the trust were paying.

This was said by board chairperson Judge Jerome Ngwenya in response to Witness sister paper City Press’s report that Zuma was paying R800 a month for the 8,9 hectares of land owned by the trust, and that the lease was for 40 years with an option to renew. It was also reported that Public Works Department was paying R13 000 a month for 6,6 hectares of land adjacent to the compound.

The lease has sparked calls from DA shadow Minister for Rural Development and Land Reform Mpowele Swathe to ensure Public Protector Thuli Madonsela included the lease of land in her “Nkandlagate” investigation.

“I will also write to the chairperson of the portfolio committee on rural development and land reform, Stone Sizani, requesting that the minister, Gugile Nkwinti, and the Ingonyama Trust Board be summoned to Parliament to explain why communally owned land is being leased to the president at below market value.”

He said leasing the 8,9 hectares of land at R800 a month, below market value, did not in any way benefit the Nkandla community.

But Ngwenya said Zuma had resided on the Ingonyama Trust land that is governed under the indigenous and customary laws without being obliged to pay rental until he entered into a leasehold agreement.

He said the land leased to Zuma was an unimproved space.

Ngwenya also said the rental was determined after a number of factors were considered, such as location of the land and its usage for residential purposes.

Ngwenya said Zuma’s neighbours were not on leasehold agreements with the Ingonyama Trust Board and as such were not paying any rent.

He insisted that Zuma’s rental was “reasonable and slightly above” compared to what others paid to the trust for longer periods without escalation in the rentals.

Ngwenya made an example of four hectares of coastal land that was leased for 99 years to run a hotel business at only R400 a month.

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