What Zuma told Parliament

2013-11-30 00:00

RESPONDING to a question on who funded the upgrades at Nkandla, President Jacob Zuma on March 20 in the National Assembly, answered:

“In the recent past … the family commissioned certain improvements to the residences for its own account. I was, accordingly, aware of these renovations to the extent that it relates to my family residence, which was self-funded. It remains a private family matter.

“Naturally, I was informed that improvements needed to be made at the family residence to enhance the security of the head of state. The nature and form of improvements were decided upon by the relevant officials through their departments.”

DA Parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko challenged this: “I have here a letter that shows he [Zuma] must have known. It is a letter addressed to him by the former Minister of Public Works, the honourable Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde, setting out the details of the project, including that money was being spent on non-security items.

“Did the honourable president receive this letter from the Department of Public Works? In addition, when he received it, why did he not immediately intervene to prevent this outrageous expenditure of R206 million on a project at his private home in Nkandla?”

Zuma denied any knowledge of the letter. “No letter has ever been received by me. That is a very clear, straight answer.”

One of the MPs asked: “Are you saying, honourable president, that the tuck shop, the soccer field, the lift, the clinic, at the end of the day, will not be part of the Zuma estate, and, therefore, has not been financed by the taxpayers’ money? Are you saying … that all these things have got to do with security — including the lift and the tuck shop?”

To which Zuma replied: “No, there is no government that has built my house. With regard to my houses, government recommended specific security features on my houses. The tuck shop has been there all the time.

“The explanation was that was a security risk because nobody knows who comes into the centre of the house carrying what. It had to be removed from the centre of the homestead to the gate, so that it can deal with those security considerations.”

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