DA wants breakdown of Zuma's Nkandla legal bill

2016-10-27 22:39

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Cape Town - The Presidency has fobbed off a DA request to reveal how much was spent on defending President Jacob Zuma during his Nkandla upgrade saga, the opposition party said on Thursday.

DA MP Sej Motau said instead of receiving a proper answer to its written question the Presidency was "flippant and evasive," blaming accounting methods.

The Presidency told Motau that the amounts are lumped together with other costs "and therefore do not allow for identification of transactions that can be related to this question".

"Essentially the Presidency said that the cost of the president's legal fees – which the taxpayer is funding - can be buried in vague and bureaucratic line items in financial statements and be hidden from the public," said Motau.

Not letting go, Motau said he would write to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, as leader of government business, for a proper answer.

Motau added that R5.327m for legal fees has already been budgeted over the 2016-2019 medium term, with an additional R2.1m allocated "for unforeseen increased legal costs".

This comes to R7.427m in the medium term expenditure framework.

R7.8m paid back

"President Zuma is not just wrongly taking public money to build Nkandla. He is taking public money to defend himself in court for wrongly taking public money for Nkandla," commented Motau.

Zuma had to pay back R7.8m of the R249m it cost to upgrade his private estate in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal.

This was after initially deciding that he did not have to heed former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's recommendation that the cost of a swimming pool, cattle kraal and amphitheatre come out of his own pocket.

An attempt at passing the swimming pool off as a "fire pool" was even made by the Minister of Police Nathi Nhleko at one point.

The issue caused a political furore when Parliament also decided that the protector's report had no legal standing, leading to a severe dressing down by the Constitutional Court after this view was challenged by the DA and the Economic Freedom Fighters.

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  nkandla

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