Storm over presidential guesthouse plans

2011-03-09 10:49

Pretoria - Wanted: 48 Persian rugs, 45 works of art, 300 sets of cutlery of "pure gold material", 15 decorations, silver teapots, cups and saucers, placemats and serviettes with the state coat of arms, linen for the bedrooms and 300 sets of eight kinds of glasses.

These items, amongst others, are what the public works department wants for a presidential guesthouse on the Bryntirion estate in Pretoria and for which it has invited suppliers to tender.

The DA has criticised the plans, describing the list as a waste of money, but a former veteran diplomat and expert on diplomatic protocol believes it is necessary that only the best is exhibited and used in a presidential guesthouse.

Connie Swart, a former ambassador to Finland and the Baltic Sea countries, said in a guesthouse like this, the president will host important people such as kings, presidents, prime ministers and ministers.


"It is important that you send the message that this is a civilised country and that you are maintaining a certain standard. This is about being civilised.

"Those sorts of people (the VIPs) are used to a certain lifestyle and you have to try and maintain it without compromising on your individuality," said Swart.

The new guesthouse, which is currently being built, is located next to the one which was built in 1905.

The DA's parliamentary leader Athol Trollip called on President Jacob Zuma to intervene and to stop the spending of state money, which is making his and his cabinet's "excessively lavish lifestyle" possible.

Trollip said it was also proof that a parliamentary portfolio committee was urgently needed for the presidency, as other state departments have.

In a country with great poverty and unemployment there was according to him, no room for the "shameless misuse of public money".

  • whyte58 - 2011-03-09 10:59


      IandI - 2011-03-09 12:40

      Is there any limit to the number of presidential wives and houses we taxpayers have to pay for? With taxpayers money JZ can probably afford 700 wives at least? or More? Traditionalists, please enlighten us!

      Sedick - 2011-03-09 14:41

      And by the time we get the International VIPs, all the goods would have been we can then buy least we will be creating jobs.........ya right.......

  • Alwyn - 2011-03-09 11:03

    Why not?,after all there is a huge supply of money in this country,everybody are basking in wealth,Nobody is starving,or resorting to begging and stealing,This country is in a very healthy state,The powers that be have the right to spoil themselves for doing such a sterling job with Service Delivery

      Pokkels_LOL - 2011-03-09 12:01

      Yes and he thinks because he is a President he is a “King”, just like “King Mugabe” and let his people suffer in poverty! He’s got an IQ of an gold-fish no wait.... that’s an insult to my gold-fish.

  • will baker - 2011-03-09 11:05

    I cant understand why people vote for these idiots.

      will baker - 2011-03-09 11:26

      Got nothing to do with color. everything to do with intelligence.

      gen.mewmew - 2011-03-09 12:14

      yes and due to their lack of education they vote for them because they are black!

      Gidela - 2012-11-09 16:16

      because we are still traumised by the apartheid system, and it is hard to just forget so we are scaptical to vote as anti ANC

  • Allure - 2011-03-09 11:06

    I'd want an awesome guesthouse too if i was president :)

  • maseratifitt - 2011-03-09 11:08

    We can show the world we are civilized when we become civilized. We can show it in our actions, not with trinkets.

      donnelly.ann - 2011-03-09 11:12

      Amen. When we can have a verbal tussle without setting each other alight!

  • shocked - 2011-03-09 11:15

    Here is a thought, who will be staying there when there are no visitors? There is the real reason for the big expenses. Money wasting parasites!

      Wes - 2011-03-09 13:23

      Gadduff's guest house

  • genet - 2011-03-09 11:16

    When will they overcome their need to express a collective sense of inferiority.

  • Playnice - 2011-03-09 11:17

    "It is important that you send the message that this is a civilised country and that you are maintaining a certain standard. This is about being civilised. This is just "window dressing". Show the world we are civilised by removing crime and corruption

  • Jimmy - 2011-03-09 11:17

    That's right. We need lots of bling to impress Gadaffi, Gbagbo, Mugabe etc when they come to stay. I don't have such fancy trinkets in my house. Does that mean I'm not civilised? This takes us full circle back to when colonists used trinkets to impress locals.

  • lynnea.gough - 2011-03-09 11:18

    why not use local artists and rug makers etc?? why not out that money back inot our economy and help people who are really good artists etc and promote them???? what a waste.

  • Midcorner - 2011-03-09 11:18

    We are a developing country and we also need to show a sence of charector when we host other countries and i dont think that the money that has been spend by the presidency can erradicate poverty and i dont get it why you guys have to make an issue out of every move that the President is making!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      CheekySod - 2011-03-09 11:30

      48 Persian rugs, 45 works of art, 300 sets of cutlery of "pure gold material", 15 decorations, silver teapots, cups and saucers, placemats and serviettes with the state coat of arms, linen for the bedrooms and 300 sets of eight kinds of glasses. This is not showing a sense of "charector". This is showing blatant disregard for the economic recession and extreme hardship a large portion of the South African population are experiencing. Developing country implies responsibility. This lavish outlay is more in keeping with standards set by dictatorships.

      Hans-Erik Iken - 2011-03-09 13:27

      @Midcorner: That was a load of BS. Character would be if he simply puts the guests up in a wing one of his own refurbished homes. The President of the USA (Heard of it? It is one of the richer nations on this planet.) puts really important guests in the White Houes where he lives or in a topclass hotel. I fail to see the need for a guesthouse at all. Character would be if he instead insisted that this money would be spend on the poor and on service delivery. Character is when you deny yourself something to give to somebody who doesn't have it. It is sickening how they can waste this kind of money and yet appeal to other nations for aid (like R 200M for water and sanitation project provided by The Netherlands as was announced yesterday). The SA government is out to live a lavish lifestyle paid for by the taxpayer. Offcourse most of those taxes come from businesses they intend to nationalise and the very population groups that are the voting minority and as such marginalised, insulted or ignored by the same government that sucks them dry.

      Nelster - 2011-03-09 13:35

      Because we pay his salary and because he works for us!!!! That is why!!!! And by the way, we are not a developing country, we are going backwards. Isn't it time that the President starts looking after his own people before he makes everything luxurious and comfortable for visitors? Maybe the money that the President spends won't eradicate poverty but if he started spending some of it on his own people he would earn some respect. If he started doing something positive, I will be on this site every day wishing him well. You only see the negative things being made an issue of because there ARE only negative things. Name ONE positive thing that the government has done so far.

      Nelster - 2011-03-09 13:38

      Also, one day when he needs to go begging for International Aid (and he will) no one will consider it necessary while they are being entertained in his pure gold guesthouse!

      Zee - 2011-03-09 14:31

      @Midcorner - yes we are, as you stated, a DEVELOPING nation with masses of homeless, jobless, unhealthy and uneducated poor people. Not to mention our rampant crime rate and floundering justice system. Screw looking good, let's put food on the table for our people first?

  • shylady777 - 2011-03-09 11:18

    first the private hospital for government officials, now the presidential guesthouse. We all know that the overseas dignatories stay in places like michaelangelo and the this would be for his wives to stay in when they are visiting.....ANC should keep on at this...eventually someone in the townships will have a brain and spread the word that if they continue voting for these idiots called the anc, they will have no future.....

      debbie.van.niekerk - 2011-03-23 12:10

      I doubt very much if the masses EVER really care. Its not what he can do for them that matters, its only cos he is black. Pfffft

  • Sisie - 2011-03-09 11:20

    So what have they been using all the previous years - a shack and paper plates.

  • YasButIDunno - 2011-03-09 11:20

    Do they know how to use cutlery? What's with the sudden love of all things Western - as long as it's expensive? They really are a bunch of clowns, who are they trying to impress?

      DeeCS - 2011-03-09 12:10

      They will just steal the gold items

      DeeCS - 2011-03-09 12:11

      sorry steal is such an honest word, politically correct term to use in place of steal is "affirmatively borrow"

      Wes - 2011-03-09 13:26

      Can you imaging the priceless treasures of this country that have disappeared down the black hole

  • will baker - 2011-03-09 11:21

    How dumb do the think the international community is?? Crime , poverty and lack of education and they think a fancy house will hide that? It takes 1 newspaper poster to show what SA is really like. Crime ridden.

  • - 2011-03-09 11:23

    The government continues to spend tax payer money without a care in the world, even though we as ordinary citizens have had to cut back to the bare necessities. Who is in charge of this wasteful spending? I would suggest those persons visit the rural communities and see how they are living before expediture of this nature is allowed. All world leaders are aware of the financial situation and I am sure they do not expect gold material and persian carpets etc. Any way Zuma is hardly in SA so who is going to be entertained in this lordly manner. Uncle Bob??

      EchoTango - 2011-03-09 15:33

      Hi AndrewM39, I think it would be more effective if the rural communities could go and see how Zuma lives, maybe just maybe there eyes will open up.

  • Currie_Mafia - 2011-03-09 11:24

    ZUMA : South Africa's BIGGEST mistake... This idiot is an @r$ehole !!!

      unblind - 2011-03-09 11:44

      No he's your president.

      Pokkels_LOL - 2011-03-09 11:50

      You are 100% on the money Currie_Mafia!

      allie - 2011-03-09 12:23

      I wonder how many of these pro-Zuma arsholes blogging here pay tax and i am not talking salestax.It`s easy to spend somebody elses money And the bedrooms will be named:Caddafi.Mbagbo,Aristite etc.

      Tshifhiwa - 2011-03-09 12:58

      @Currie more so to white people, FW DE Klerk was a darling of whities and an asshole to us blacks. Zuma is our preseident (Blacks) he is not a white man President, so stop complaining about him, we are happy with him and we will make sure that he gets 2nd term in the office.

      will baker - 2011-03-09 13:06

      @Tshifhiwa. simple question for you. How do you black brothers and sisters living in poverty in the townships feel about this. And dont hate the whites you moron, this internet thingy that you are using came from a white. If you hate whites so much. Go back to the way you were before the whites came here. your 3 legged pot and dung floored hut is calling you.

      Pokkels_LOL - 2011-03-09 13:23

      @Tshifhiwa: Do you endorse the fact that JZ waist millions of rands that could actually had helped your brothers and sisters in the townships with a better way of living? Why do you fall back 20 years rather then moving forward and learn from the mistakes in the past!

      Currie_Mafia - 2011-03-09 13:41

      IT'S NOT ABOUT BLACK OR WHITE... MBOWENI,MANDELA,TUTU,RAMAPHOSA,just to name a few, are intelligent BLACK men... Zuma is a STUPID president & I'm sure there are a lot of black men who are more capable than him... Zuma is not the Black man's pres,but the president for his Zulu followers. He was the ethnic choice & not the logical one... LIke in or not, under his leadership, the ANC has more rifts than ever before.

      Tshifhiwa - 2011-03-09 15:21

      @ will baker & Pokkels lol even in the United States there are squatter camp, there is poverty all over the world, and now the ANC has eased poverty to many black people like me, whether internet is a white man thingy, we don’t care, all we care about is the ANC that made sure that not only a white man should live a wealthy life, yes we are benefiting from BEE and AA, EE etc, which is good to us, all you people can do is to sit behind your desk and complain while we are receiving you tax through BEE deals and that is something you must deal with for many years to come. I am sure you know of many wealthy black people and that is thanks to the ANC.

  • jiamalunga - 2011-03-09 11:25

    You cant be civilised! Point!

  • jdeeathome - 2011-03-09 11:30

    iregarities in tendering,corruption, changing prison names, city names and any name that sounds remotely like it resembles anything from the past, where are they expecting to get money, silly me, lets milk the tax payer more, i say to hell with the lodge, and to hell with the government

  • WCD - 2011-03-09 11:30

    A civilized country is not known by its gold and lavish spending of taxpayers money, but by the conditions on the street. If they are so adamant to spend money fast, why don't they all go to the moon, that will rid us of another few billion!

      Playnice - 2011-03-09 11:41

      Good Idea. a space taxi to take the whole ANC government off this planet

  • will baker - 2011-03-09 11:31

    I think we should all consider not paying tax anymore. im sick and tired of funding these morons. Civilized?? Coming from a country where the president thought a shower would make him safe from AIDS. Wow!! I think Zuma need to go back to school and read a book or two about the civilized world. I find it hard to believe that a man can spend so much time behind bars and never once decided to educate himself. If one were to have personal pride that would surely help him in trying to fix SA. He never tried to better himself, so how in all honesty can we expect him to better out country.

      unblind - 2011-03-09 11:46

      he never tried to educate himself? really? what exactly do you know about him? maybe you should be the one educating yourself. if you don't want to pay tax anymore then you are welcome to leave to a tax free country. as long as you are within these borders you WILL pay your taxes or you will be prosecuted.

      will baker - 2011-03-09 12:08

      @unblind or blind. What degrees did he get whilst in jail?? what grade level education did he achieve?? Did he study at all? NO! his !st wife taught him how to read and that where it was left.

      will baker - 2011-03-09 12:09

      unblind< what level education does Zuma have??

  • Alfred - 2011-03-09 11:36

    I would LOVE to see these fat, useless, thieving sons of bitches go into a township (without their bodyguards) and explain each item to "their people" and exactly how much they cost. Absolute f*cking disgrace and they should be strung up.

  • Nobuntu - 2011-03-09 11:39

    Kings, presidents, prime-ministers, and ministers are no more important that than people living in squalor in informal settlements. It is time people realised this. There is no single person on this planet that is more or less important than any other. Good grief, wake up and get some balance and equitable sharing of resources.

  • DiabloDBN - 2011-03-09 11:39

    Don't really want to comment here as it would seem racist but how do we spend 120million on entertainment last year, do something like this and then complain that schools in rural area's are so bad? Do these people understand that we have chosen them to look after our country!!!??! Pfft..Guesthouse are you friggen kidding me? You would think we have a king and not a President... Hope it looks nice!

  • Spliff - 2011-03-09 11:40

    "This is about being civilised." Bwa HA HA HA HA haaaaa!

  • Johan - 2011-03-09 11:41

    What's wrong in treating our friends Mugabe, Gaddafi, Chavez, Kim Jong, et al.

  • THX1148 - 2011-03-09 11:45

    Don't blame me - I voted "No"

  • davandenzil - 2011-03-09 11:45

    [48 Persian rugs, 45 works of art, ] This has to be for Gaddafi, when he flees Libya. South Africa is an friend of Gadaffi

  • Johan - 2011-03-09 11:45

    Please note that the tender will be issued continuously as the items are stolen.

      WCD - 2011-03-09 15:45

      Tender ? That is a BIG word for those intellectuals.

  • david.j.heimann - 2011-03-09 11:46

    Civilised !!! I think the sign of a civilised nation is one which puts its people first - forget this extravagance it means nothing and is certainly no indication of civilisation.

  • Mlu - 2011-03-09 11:51

    Before you all get excited, the Presidential Guesthouse is a presidential Guest House. Its purpose is to accomodate/entertain guests at the top end from OTHER governments, not our own government. I mean Presidents and Prime Ministers when they visit our shores. Now the stuff in the Guesthouse needs to upgraded and/or renovated regularly as the hotels and similar institutions do. We are fortunate here in RSA that there is an open tender for this. In countries such as the US and the UK, you only get to hear of news like this from Wikileaks.

      Playnice - 2011-03-09 12:00

      Does 40% of your hard earned income also get used for this extravagance Mlu

      Jimmy - 2011-03-09 12:21

      The Obama's, Camerons and Merkels of the world don't stay at presidential guest houses. Their Embassy's arrange accommodation for them. Presidential guest houses are for the likes of Mugabe and Gadaffi.

      Squeeze - 2011-03-09 12:56

      Catch a f*cken wake up Mlu, have seen what is already in this guest house, i have. And did you also know that your brother julius stays there on a regular basis. This is not only for off shore visitors, you are so blind, i pitty you. You vote for some-one you don't even know.

      Totman - 2011-03-09 14:24

      Here is a fact for you to process. The fancier the accommodation of a country's leader( some even call theirs palaces) and the quest-houses become the worst the country gets manage. The less the peoples rights become. The more the poverty takes over. Laws get applied selectively. Normal decent places are needed. Thats all. Must we also wait for Wiki-leaks to tell us while we know it? We do not want to be a next UK or US. We need to stop these things in the begin.

  • Cheldon - 2011-03-09 11:51

    It is for Gadaffi to live in excile

  • scud - 2011-03-09 11:51

    They are a disgusting bunch of sycophants,totally lacking in moral values and integrity.

  • wheresmymojo - 2011-03-09 11:55

    Wasn't there a case of cutlery and the likes going missing in the present State Guest House ????? Pure gold, that will get melted down and sold to the pawn shop around the corner ! What a load of crap.

  • justice.molotsepo.ramasala - 2011-03-09 11:58

    Well, there goes SA Money into the so called Zuma 's friend.And i am telling you.There will be some irregularities with the Tender as always.

      Totman - 2011-03-09 14:39

      I am also start getting the feeling all improvements and new projects are not getting done for the real reason. It feels more like if there are people who make it their job to see what can be put forward for repair, replace or develop with the intention of gaining from it. People that get paid to do their work, but only do these were one can gain from. If the same amount of effort would have been on issues, where the nation scores and not individuals, SA would have been far more ahead than now.

  • Jacques - 2011-03-09 11:58

    for the VIPs: Gadaffi, Mugabe, Bin Laden etc

      Fazil - 2011-03-09 12:06

      What did i do wrong?

  • Jon - 2011-03-09 12:04

    For a guy who married his 5th wife, wearing tackies and animal skin, and claim "it is my culture" - I don't know why this is necessary. This "civilised" portrayal is beyond our president.

  • Gustav - 2011-03-09 12:11

    What exactly is so civilised about this country and who'se standards are being maintained.

  • omgwtfnews - 2011-03-09 12:13

    Like a boss...

  • gen.mewmew - 2011-03-09 12:13

    haha SA is FAR from civilised!

  • will baker - 2011-03-09 12:15


  • Mike - 2011-03-09 12:17

    What do expect from this bunch of neanderthals who are running the country

  • John - 2011-03-09 12:20

    The ANC couldnt care less about the people they are supposed to be governing. Its the same with 3rd world countries all over the world. Thanks Jake.

  • AJ - 2011-03-09 12:24

    Whether these people that the president will 'host' are actually 'important' is up for debate. Or to put it another way are they more important than the people the money could have been spent on instead? I dont deny that the place needs furnishing, but do people really require gold cutlery. Will they refuse to eat there or visit us if they have an upmarket cutlery set instead at a fraction of the price?

  • Ingie - 2011-03-09 12:28

    Well there goes all out tax money. Money for the schools (which they burn down), money for jobs (which will never happen), money for the homeless (which they wont get), money for better service deliveries and the list goes on. I also heard that Holland is giving a few billion rands to the govt, so guess what the planning has started.IT SHOULD BE THE BUCK STOPS HERE!!! Thieves - dont they feel embarrassed that they have all this luxury and their own kind are homeless and live in shacks..disgusting

  • alltainted - 2011-03-09 12:31

    Gold cutlery? Whatever next - clean government? Never, what a relief!

  • Ingie - 2011-03-09 12:33

    Maybe its for Mugabe when he comes to town or the President of Haiti as he was here for a very long time staying in a posh home in the Cape while we paying for him to be here.ITs all our taxes they are spending. If they worked hard for it then yes but for doing nothing and then spending the money when its needed elswhere disgusting

  • anita.nortje - 2011-03-09 12:34

    This is Africa... Give them a shack Man!! its culture!!

  • Souf-Efrikan - 2011-03-09 12:37

    "It is important that you send the message that this is a civilised country and that you are maintaining a certain standard. This is about being civilised." LMAO!! You can dress up all you want, civilised people will see through your smoke screen, besides the leader from Lybia who is moving in can bring his own cups and saucers!!

  • Squeeze - 2011-03-09 12:40

    Who is going to pay for this........ sorry, we are, the educated tax payers of this country. When is our tax money going to be seen put to good use. Wait a minute.... they fixing the roads....wait a minute....they also putting up toll gates to charge us to use the roads we have already paid for. Bunch of c*nts