Nkandla's facilities will never go to waste - Nhleko

2015-07-21 17:46
(File: City Press)

(File: City Press)

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Pietermaritzburg – Facilities like the visitors’ centre at Nkandla will continue to be used even after President Jacob Zuma is no longer president, Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko said on Tuesday.

“They continue to be part of the package that governs the work of former presidents, it’s an ongoing kind of use,” he told Parliament’s ad hoc committee on Nkandla, in the KwaZulu-Natal legislature in Pietermaritzburg.

The committee, which includes members of the ANC, DA, ACDP and NFP, is expected to visit Nkandla on Wednesday.

It is studying Nhleko’s report, released on May 28, in which he said Zuma did not have to repay any of the R246m spent on so-called security upgrades at Nkandla.

Nhleko was responding to comments by DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen that ownership of Nkandla will vest in Zuma, not the State, when he steps down as president. The State will thus derive no benefit from it.

Nhleko said the visitors’ centre is necessary for security, as a president cannot host another head of state and discuss serious matters while “sitting in your lounge, with your children roaming about”.

“You need to deal with these matters away from the family, to protect confidentiality. That’s what the visitors’ centre is about.”

Steenhuisen said the explanation of the use of the swimming pool as a “firepool” was “cottoned on far later”. Had its intended primary use been firefighting, it would have been built in the centre of the largest concentration of houses and thatched roofs in the homestead. Instead it is outside this area.

Its primary purpose is recreation, which is “absolutely acceptable”, as long as Zuma paid for it himself, Steenhuisen said.

Nhleko said Steenhuisen will be able to see the location of the pool during Wednesday's visit.

He did not want to respond to the matter of “firepools” in the homes of former presidents.

“Former presidents did not have thatched houses so the security threat was lower.”

Nhleko recently mentioned that former president Nelson Mandela had a “firepool” at his home in Qunu. His daughter Makaziwe Mandela and grandson Ndaba Mandela subsequently said it is merely a swimming pool that Mandela built with his own money.

Nhleko said the amphitheatre and soil retention wall, visitors’ centre, firepool, kraal and culvert, are all security features and maintained Zuma did not have to pay for these.

This contradicted Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s findings - released in a report in March 2014 - that Zuma should pay for those features not related to security, like the pool and the amphitheatre.

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  jacob zuma  |  john steenhuisen  |  nkosinathi nhleko  |  pietermaritzburg  |  nkandla upgrade

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