Zuma must share Nkandla

2014-11-23 22:29

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Johannesburg - When President Jacob Zuma retires from the top office in the land in 2019, he will have to share his multimillion-rand residential complex with the residents of Nkandla, City Press reports.

The clinic, two helicopter landing pads and 20 houses built for security officers are among the facilities that will be used by residents in the rural KwaZulu-Natal area, according to discussions held behind closed doors in Parliament on 13 November.

Zuma could also lose exclusive access to his visitors’ centre, amphitheatre and R2.8m pool area.

Two senior ANC MPs told City Press the party’s leadership in Parliament had decided that Nkandla must be divided into two when Zuma’s term ends so that not just he and his family benefit from the controversial complex.

City Press has learnt that Cedric Frolick, chairperson of the parliamentary ad hoc committee on Nkandla, announced this decision to ANC MPs last Thursday morning at a ­caucus meeting before the committee’s Nkandla report was submitted to Parliament and accepted.

“Frolick said the clinic and some of the other buildings there will be opened to the community,” said a senior ANC MP at the meeting.

Frolick was in New York this week and was not available for comment.

But a highly placed source in the ANC said the decision had been taken and had to be implemented.

“The report was accepted by the National Assembly, and the decision is part of the report. It is a resolution by the House,” said the source.

There is a vague reference to the plan in a report prepared by the committee that Frolick chaired.

“With regard to the structures and amenities that were constructed on the land adjacent to the Zuma homestead [which] belongs to the Ingonyama Trust, the committee recommends that the relevant executive authority should discuss, at the appropriate time, the post-tenure arrangements with the relevant local, provincial and national authorities to facilitate the future use of such structures and amenities by the local ­communities.”

And if Zuma refuses?

“If the executive authority [the president] does not agree with resolutions passed by Parliament, they must give very good reasons explaining why they disagree,” said the senior source.

“Our decision does not affect the president’s personal property, but the part that was built on by the state.”

Zuma’s home, which was upgraded with R246m of taxpayers’ money, is built on two adjoining pieces of land, both leased from the Ingonyama Trust.

The trust manages land that falls under Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini on behalf of communities in KwaZulu-Natal.

The lease for the land on which Zuma’s five houses, his cattle kraal and chicken run are located is in his name.

The second tract of land with the clinic, two helicopter landing pads and 20 houses for police officers is being leased by the department of public works.

The visitors’ centre, amphitheatre and swimming pool area lie in the middle of the two stands.

A source in the department of public works said the clinic, helicopter landing pads and police houses are situated, without any doubt, on the property being leased by the state and these structures are considered to be state property.

“Therefore, the state can decide to open them.”

The public works official was not sure on which side the pool, amphitheatre and visitors’ centre – all determined to be nonsecurity-related upgrades by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela – would fall on if the property was divided.

Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj would not say if Zuma was aware of this decision and if he agreed to it.

“As long as the matter is before Parliament, we will not comment on it,” said Maharaj.

Madonsela found in her report on the Nkandla upgrades that although the clinic, helicopter landing pads and police residences were security requirements, they could have been constructed in the nearby town so the whole community could benefit from them.

Madonsela’s report also revealed that there had been talks between President Zuma and former public works deputy minister Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu about the ­possibility of turning the “fire pool” into a swimming pool so that it would serve a dual purpose and “village children” could use it for swimming lessons.

Bogopane-Zulu even wanted to involve Swimming SA in the project and Zuma apparently supported the idea, according to the report.

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  nkandla upgrade

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