Nkandla fund not only for Zuma - businessmen

2014-11-13 20:33
(File: AFP)

(File: AFP)

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Johannesburg - A group of businessmen raising funds to repay the money spent on President Jacob Zuma's home at Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal, claimed on Thursday they wanted to free up Parliament by putting the issue to rest.

"We [are] not raising the money to pay for Nkandla because we just want to help President Jacob Zuma, we [are] raising the money simply because we want to help the presidency irrespective of who is the President," said Public Members Unit Team (PMUT) spokesperson Sylvester Mathebula.

"Most of the time when the National Assembly sits we don't believe, as the PMUT, that we are moving forward the way we should be moving."

He said Parliament was not making progress on other issues because opposition parties were too focused on the money spent on the upgrades to Zuma's private home.

"We [are] raising funds so that... the country can progress. This is the motive behind the initiative," Mathebula said.

Last month, KwaZulu-Natal tycoon Philani Mavundla reportedly offered to raise funds and settle Zuma's Nkandla debt.

Mavundla, a former ANC mayor of Greytown, admitted there had been behind-the-scenes discussions among Zuma's backers about the debt.

The group would reportedly raise money in the same way it did with the Friends of Jacob Zuma Trust set up in 2005 to raise money for Zuma's defence against his fraud and corruption charges at the time. Mavundla was involved with the trust.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found Zuma "unduly benefited from the enormous capital investment" in the R246m Nkandla upgrades, and ordered that he reimburse the state for private luxuries that were added to his home as part of the project.

This was rejected by Parliament's ad hoc committee considering the outcome of various investigations into Nkandla when it discussed its draft report to the National Assembly last week.

Opposition walkout

The committee, which consists of only ANC members - the DA's parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane and EFF leader Julius Malema led an opposition walkout in September - found there was no proof Zuma was enriched or acted improperly.

Maimane has dismissed the draft report as a whitewash and said the DA would go to court if necessary to force Zuma to refund the state.

The man who investigated Paralympian Oscar Pistorius for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, Lieutenant General Vinesh Moonoo, would head an investigation into the upgrades at Nkandla.

On Monday, police announced that corruption charges laid against Zuma by opposition parties concerning the so-called security upgrades would be centralised and investigated nationally.

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  eff  |  jacob zuma  |  cape town  |  politics  |  parliament 2014  |  nkandla upgrade

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