I told Zuma to prepare to pay back the money: Maharaj

2015-07-26 09:09
Mnr. Mac Maharaj| Foto: Herman Verwey

Mnr. Mac Maharaj| Foto: Herman Verwey ( Herman Verwey)

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Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma's former spokesperson Mac Maharaj has told the UK's Financial Times that he told the leader to prepare to pay back the money used for security upgrades to his Nkandla homestead. 

“I’d say this is the biggest weakness of the administration. From the beginning I said to him, ‘President, prepare yourself for repayment.’ This was before the [Public Protector] report came out," Maharaj said in an interview posted on the publication's website on Friday. 

"And I said, ‘If you have a problem, I’m sure that in your present position it won’t be difficult to raise [the money]’. He said, ‘No I did not ask for those security enhancements. I’m not paying.’ 

"We know how stubborn each of us can be. And we know each of us has a blind spot. But however this thing pans out, what is important is we create a culture of taking responsibility for our actions.”

Maharaj told News24 on Sunday morning that he should be contacted for comment on the interview later in the day. 

Maharaj told The Sunday Times that he said it had been inappropriate for him to reveal confidential information about his relationship with Zuma. 

He told the Sunday Times he concluded his answer to the Financial Times with: "...The matter of Nkandla is still with Parliament and the possibly the courts. There is much contestation between the parties on this matter and I do not want my personal views arising from a confidential relationship to become a political football."

A report by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, which was released in March last year, found that Zuma "unduly benefited" from some of the estimated R246m upgrades to his homestead. 

She said he should pay for those features that were not related to security. 

On May 28, Police Minister Nathi Nhleko released his own report on the Nkandla upgrades saying features at the homestead like the amphitheatre and soil retention wall, visitors’ centre, “firepool”, a kraal and a culvert, were all security features and he maintained that Zuma did not have to pay for these.

Media were expected to tour the government facilities in the Nkandla homestead later on Sunday. 
This was after the SA National Editors' Forum said it was disappointed by the limited access journalists had during a parliamentary committee oversight visit to Zuma's home on Wednesday. 

Maharaj also told the Financial Times that he thought deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa would make a good president. 

“He’s a fantastic negotiator, he’s got an enormous capacity to stay focused on 10 issues. I think he will probably make a good president, [although] I’m not ruling out that even when he becomes president you find some major cock-up takes place.”

Read more on:    mac maharaj  |  jacob zuma  |  thuli madonsela  |  pietermaritzburg  |  nkandla upgrade

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