Zuma ‘seriously confused’ on SA’s urgent needs

2012-10-01 00:00

OPPOSITION parties are not amused; they have termed the spending of R203 million on President Jacob Zuma’s private Nkandla homestead “wasteful expenditure of public funds”.

DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said she would ask the Public Protector to probe the public works department and also whether there was any “undue political influence” placed on it to allocate those funds.

Sister paper City Press yesterday reported that R203 million for Zuma’s homestead would come from public coffers, while he would pay only R10,6 million from his own pocket.

Mazibuko called this a “serious abuse of tax payers’ money by a department which [was] failing in almost every other key responsibility”. She said the expenditure by Public Works represented “a serious confusion” by the president and the minister of the department “as to what the pressing priorities for South Africa are,”

“Public Works is in complete disarray and cannot deliver on its key mandates.

“As President Zuma builds his palace in Nkandla using public money, as if he will be president for life, he deprives money from projects that are so desperately needed to boost job creation and fight poverty,” said Mazibuko.

The Presidency had previously denied that the taxpayer would pay for the Zuma compound.

The IFP’s spokesperson on Public Works, Khethamabala Sithole, told The Witness they were amazed that the department had so much money to spend on Zuma’s homestead.

Describing the Department of Public Works as “not functional”, he said they had in the past called for it to be closed, and its responsibilities transferred to other departments. “If government is doing this, then how many people will go without houses and water that can be paid for with that money?” asked Sithole. He added that the IFP would also be asking the Public Protector to probe this.

Cope’s chief whip, Dennis Bloem, told The Witness that they had not discussed whether to take the matter to the Public Protector, but would definitely bring it up in Parliament. “It is a serious disgrace that this amount of money can be spent on an individual when so many people struggle to get clean drinking water,” said Bloem.

National Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Union founder Sunny Gayadin, said the R203 million could build a million houses.

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