Inspection of Zuma’s Nkandla home begins

2015-07-22 13:10
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All roads lead to Nkandla

The first media pictures of security installations outside President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla home were taken on Wednesday morning, during a parliamentary ad hoc committee inspection of the homestead. The media were granted limited access to the homestead and were excluded from viewing security features such as the swimming/fire pool, amphitheatre and visitors' lounge. Pictures: Tebogo Letsie/City Press

Members of Parliament’s ad hoc committee set up to deal with the Nkandlagate scandal have arrived at President Jacob Zuma’s Nxamalala residence to inspect the facility and consider Police Minster Nathi Nhleko’s report on the matter. 

The committee’s 11 members are inside the presidential complex to inspect the fire pool, chicken run, cattle kraal and other areas that Nhleko’s report said should be paid for by the taxpayer and not the head of state as indicated by the report of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela into the matter. 

At the same time, a separate group of MPs – led by Democratic Alliance chief whip John Steenhuizen – have arrived at Nxamalala, where the president’s private home is located, to conduct an “independent oversight’’ on the premises and “consider how ordinary people at Nkandla are living’’. 

They joined a brief media tour of the 21 South African Police Service and South African National Defence Force houses attached to the presidential complex – built at a cost of more than R120 million – before the government officials ended the tour, ordering both members of the media and the DA contingent off site. 

The police houses, which City Press inspected, consist of a single room, each with an en suite bathroom and a kitchen. Most were unoccupied and unfurnished, although one had a pile of mattresses inside. 

The entrances to several of the houses were littered with goat droppings, and the animals roamed freely in the complex, sheltering in the entrances to the units to avoid the pouring rain. 

DA MP Phumzile van Damme said the DA team wanted to inspect the units, which cost almost R6 million each and which the Special Investigating Unit and Public Protector said were “overdesigned’’ by Zuma’s architect, Minenhle Makhanya. 

A large group of ANC supporters have gathered outside the gate of Zuma’s homestead – complete with a tarpaulin to keep out the rain – and are singing songs supporting the president and ruling party. There is a large police presence and an equally large media contingent at the gate. 

Officials say the media will be allowed to visit the helipad and other facilities later, but all indications are that access will be strictly limited to the perimeter of the Zuma facility, which was declared a national key point.

Read more on:    john steenhuisen  |  nathi nhleko  |  nkandla  |  nkandlagate  |  nkandla upgrade
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