President would stop big bucks renovations

2011-11-01 13:08

Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma says, if he could, he would likely override decisions about multi-million rand renovations made to presidential houses.

He told a business breakfast meeting on Tuesday that he only found out about renovations being done to presidential residences when he read about them in newspapers.

"I wish I was the one who takes decisions about renovations of presidential residences," Zuma said.

"Those are taken by specific departments without consulting with me. You don't even know how much it is. You only see it in newspapers."

Zuma said he would probably take different decisions.

"I am sure my decisions would be different.

"I have no problem as president to live in my own simple house."
However, he was wary of being called a dictator.

"I wish I could override everything but they would call me a dictator," Zuma quipped when asked about overriding the decision to renovate the houses.

"You would say this president is a dictator. You cannot have dictators in this country."

Last month, the public works ministry gave Parliament supposedly incorrect information about the R170m cost of renovating Zuma's official residence in Pretoria.

However, it emerged that the proposed renovations had been cancelled in March.

  • Rob - 2011-11-01 13:14

    You know you're the president right? You have more say than you like everyone to believe. We have more important issues to resolve than upgrading your palaces, tell your cronies that they need to reprioritise, I'm sure they'll understand.

      Daniel - 2011-11-01 13:36

      What about the "Buck" stops here !! I watched the programme this morning,waffling on about poverty, etc, etc. Then stop spending money on useless crap and living the high-life !!

      Aisha - 2011-11-01 13:38

      Mr Zuma is lying period.

      mihaip007 - 2011-11-01 13:38

      hmmm - he is worried of being called a dictator if he has to say anything about over-spending on his presidential "palace"..! Poor him, let him keep quiet and live in an amazing "palace" and let's not worry about how much money goes into his house..! So the idea here (let me get this right): I have a problem with this but won;t say anything because I will be called names, and in return I will live in a lavish "palace" while the poor people live in.....(I cannot call them anything because they are just a SHAMEFUL side of South Africa)..!

      Mandla - 2011-11-01 13:40

      The use of the phrases "upgrading your palaces" just made me look at him as a dictator. Isn't that what they always do? Upgrade palaces?

      Ann - 2011-11-01 14:43

      What a pathetic excuse. Have some conviction Mr Zuma and tell them who is boss. By doing nothing, you are perpetuating the plight of the poor in such a blatant manner. Grow a spine!

      Aaron - 2011-11-01 14:49

      Shame. Must be a very powerless president, considering that he apparently cannot even influence the budget on presidential residences. If you believe this...

      Sedick - 2011-11-01 19:23

      Maybe he is still applying his mind as to whether he is the president or not? Dufus! I recall a certain Mbeki also saying that it was not his decision to spend R1billion on a plane - he blamed the Defence Department. Cele blamed Public Works for approving the Corrupt Office deals, Min of Public Works (Gwen Mahlangu Nkabinde) blamed her sub-ordinates!!! I suppose Shiceka will blame his over-active Libido for wasting tax money on trips to visit his girlfriend. They all blamed the Ministerial Handbook for their excesses in car purchases, travel, hotel stays, parties!! What a bunch of lying, deceiving, corrupt "blame it on others AND Apartheid" government we are saddled with......

  • Stephan - 2011-11-01 13:18

    Pathetic. Why would people label you a dictator if you stand up for what's right and cancel these improvements? Why would people insult you for deciding to save taxpayer's money? Now, they are calling you much worse! This man is our president! That's a big EEEIIISH!

      Stephan - 2011-11-01 13:34

      Three extremely idiotic statements from Zuma today. Script writer on leave, Zooms?

  • Meryl - 2011-11-01 13:20

    Dear Mr Zuma, all you need to do is speak out on the extravagance. One word "stop" Simple ....

      Wes - 2011-11-01 14:50

      I think its better to do it this way S..T..O..P.. = STOP apply your mind to that and if you don't know what it means get a dictionary ps I will help you with this one it doesn't mean dictator.

      Sedick - 2011-11-01 19:26

      And where would the money for the back-handers come from?

      Michael - 2012-03-12 08:02

      @Sendick..... thats exactly what this whole thing is all about. Be interesting to see who got the contracts to do the upgrades!!!

  • Dave - 2011-11-01 13:22

    Our president manages his cabinet and runs this country by abdication. Not prepared to make decisions, not prepared to take the wrap for any unpopular decisions and hides behind bureaucracy when challenged. We need someone with some intestinal fortitude to step up and rule with authority. He has not even got the bollocks to face Zille in a debate - nxa - spineless!!

      Silver - 2011-11-01 13:25

      They have a word for that Dave. It's called "Procrastination" and no it has got nothing to do with sex (for those who are wondering). The ANC are masters when it comes to procrastination.

  • rudi.debeer - 2011-11-01 13:23

    What a stupid argument!!! Is this your position Mr Z?

  • Roberta - 2011-11-01 13:23

    If it for the good of the country, BE a dictator, especially where wasteful spending of monies are concerned! You are supposed to be the boss - tell your workers what to do, or wlse! The excuses like "I can't do anything" is all nonsense - you look forward to the alterations, I know!

      Servaas - 2011-11-01 13:31

      Fully agree with you!

      philani.madondo - 2011-11-01 13:48

      No-one wll call him a dictator for doing what's best for the country, just a stupid excuse.

  • Mouldy - 2011-11-01 13:26

    President Zuma, please announced that you have decided to cancel the renovations on your official residence. Then announce that you are placing an immediate moratorium on all upgrades of official houses for parliament. Then tell the Minister concerned to channel all those funds into feeding schemes for disadvantaged schools around the country. I tell you something Sir, you will gain MASSIVE respect and credibility as a leader all over the place, both locally and internationally. And NOBODY will dare to call you a dictator after that. But hey, I can dream can't I?

      Meryl - 2011-11-01 13:33

      I think Mr Zuma should appoint you as his personal adviser 0:)

  • Sharmay - 2011-11-01 13:26

    Sure you would. But wait, you're the President.. Doesn't what you say go?

  • Koos - 2011-11-01 13:27

    Mr Zuma, I am sure there was a budget for such expenditure, after proper requests by the relative departments, scrutinized by some authority and eventually authorised per official document? Not so? Then probably it is again the previous regime's bloody lack of proper training. I suggest you appoint the current leader of the ANCYL as budgetary control officer and let him control spending on events - like POLICE parties and youth parties and cars and houses and hotel expenses and flights and.........

  • Myvision - 2011-11-01 13:28

    All these proposed renovations that got everyone excited were cancelled in March, apparently. We need to applaud the government for doing the right thing.

  • Gavin - 2011-11-01 13:31

    Wow, hopefully the same thing doesn't apply to the launch codes...

      Reshan - 2011-11-01 13:54

      The closest SA gets to launch codes is the canteen door keypad for lunch and we can already see who in government has those...

  • Michelle - 2011-11-01 13:32

    Another joke to tell the world. Pathetic!

  • Johan - 2011-11-01 13:33

    And to think there are actually people who believe this !!

  • Ronald - 2011-11-01 13:34

    President Zuma, refer to my comment on the article "Zuma: Ministers' performances unpredictable" on the attributes needed by an applicant for a position. These comments that you made shows that either you have been badly chosen by the ANC leadership or your speech writer should be fired.

  • Mandla - 2011-11-01 13:36

    Well there we have it folks...... A confenssion. He is not the president.

  • philani.madondo - 2011-11-01 13:39

    This is so absurd, do you expect us to beleive that??? Appear as oblivious. "I wish I could override everything but they would call me a dictator," Zuma quipped when asked about overriding the decision to renovate the houses. Some people thinks they are talking to children here.Even Robert Mugabe would say he has nothing to do with Zimbabwe's downfall - I bet he would say his officials makes all the decisions of the country.

  • rialine - 2011-11-01 13:45

    What a load of crap.

  • Derk - 2011-11-01 13:46

    did he have budgie seed for breakfast this morning that he is chirping so much

  • Bokfan - 2011-11-01 13:48

    Geez lame sense of humour from our unfortunate Precedent. Excuse me sir. Dont play with us. We arent your friends. So when you patronisingly waffle about "NOT MY PORTFOLIO" I say you are a liar. You could send out a memo today placing a moratorium on ALL NON-ESSENTIAL SPENDING. You could then define yourself and your cronies creature comforts as NON-ESSENTIAL and the job would be done. But you wont will you? Go drink,dance and bs with your pals in Nkandla your nonsense doesnt work here.

      Stephan - 2011-11-01 13:56

      It is no wonder that there is so much animosity towards government in this country - after having your intelligence insulted by uneducated thugs and thieves on a daily basis for a long period of time, it begins to scratch at the very soul. Who do they think we are? Their sheeple fan club?

  • Harrie - 2011-11-01 13:54

    Its the presidential houses, not Zuma's houses. The office of president requires a fitting house, just like the British monarch needs a palace, or the US president needs the White House. Zuma is the representative of the South African dream. These houses have always had things such as solid gold cutlery, it is not as if Zuma is acting different from other presidents. And what will it cost later if we do not do upkeep to our infrastructure (presidential houses and more)? I think Zuma deserves a little credit for recent good behaviour.

      Daniel - 2011-11-01 13:57

      Yes Harie, put in a new SHOWER !!!

      Stephan - 2011-11-01 14:48

      Harrie, firstly, we are in Africa. We don't wish to associate with the ways of the imperialist western world, now do we? Zuma says he is happy with an RDP house, I say we give him just that and allocate the surplus funds to community upliftment. Secondly, I don't believe that you want to give Zuma credit for simply doing his job (let's not praise mediocrity, shall we?). Besides, I think you'll find in due course that Zuma's reasons for acting (eventually) are purely political, as you cannot excpect someone to act out of principle when he clearly doesn't have any.

  • Kabelo - 2011-11-01 13:57

    Dear Mr Zuma, Is your office not able to know an overview of what each govt dept is busy with? What do the ministers reporting to you during weekly cabinet meetings. Or are u there with them to sahre a cup of rooibos tea?and cracking jobs? Where is each department's PLAN OF ACTION for the financial year? That's where you should have picked up the renovations.

      Narike - 2011-11-01 14:00

      Rooibos tea? I believe the tipple of choice is Johnnie Walker Blue…

  • Marion - 2011-11-01 14:03

    Mr President everytime you take one step forward in my estimation you take at least half a step back... "I wish I could override everything..." ... if the President cannot ask them to at least reconsider the renovations then who can? A court of law? In every company that provides(d) company housing (e.g. the mines) renovations didn't just happen, they were applied for. And, even if they weren't applied for they would be discussed with the resident. Of course, no doubt it is imperative to keep all the Mrs Zuma's (and all those kids) happy... Now taking away what ultimately makes their lives lekkerder would make you a dictator for sure... and getting so many of them to agree on one thing - especially home renovations - can't be too easy so perhaps that is why someone just comes in and does the job for you without any consultation / discussion with anyone in the family whatsoever. Why has it suddenly gone dark? Oh, someone's pulling the wool over my eyes.

  • Ann - 2011-11-01 14:09

    ...and think about this: if you only had ONE wifey, you would not need to renovate all those gazillion bedroom with bathroom en-suites!!

  • Mattewis - 2011-11-01 14:10

    Yeah, right "Mr. President"! We know Africa politics through & through. It's not about "right" or "wrong", but rather "being caught" or "getting away with it". If it weren't for the media (who treat you more fairly than you deserve BTW) it would have been "Everything Goes". I'm sure 'ol chum Shabir will concur!

  • Vic - 2011-11-01 14:14

    Zuma, don't display your ignorance. Surely as so-called President, you could have put your foot down. Afterall, you are supposed to lead by example. No wonder you have no control over your whole cabinet, and also Malema for that matter. Show your backbone for a change

  • juan.coetzee - 2011-11-01 14:18

    Really Mr. President? And the heli-pad and R50 million odd improvements made to your own home in KZN with taxpayers money, at your own insistence, to make your numerous wives happy? Would you cancel that as well, you blatant liar?

  • Malcolm - 2011-11-01 14:23

    McPhearson, I am glad that Michael Jackson is dead. He represents everything abnormal and sick in this world. His obsession with trying to look like a white woman pretty much led to his death. Now if only our President would also kill himself, I would vote for this to be the deckade of the century.

  • Tammy - 2011-11-01 14:49

    The President just do not sieze to amaize me! The President have all the powers to put on hold all expenditures that he sees as uneccessary then shift the funds to more crucial stuff!

  • Mfazepepa - 2011-11-01 14:49

    The King Williams Town Orphanage is closing down because there is no money, so STOP the RENOVATIONS and use the money for more important things like saving this CENTRE.

  • Hermann - 2011-11-01 15:10

    I love the guy's sense of humour. Real joker he is.

  • Malcolm - 2011-11-01 15:11

    Jacob should reconsider his stance on the freedom of the press. Without it, he would not be able to find out what is going on in his own house. Unbelievable, a president who should know what is happening throughout the country, does not know what is going on in his own presidential residence. Scary stuff.

  • JMan - 2011-11-01 15:53

    @ news24: This is the third (separate) article I've read about what Zuma said at this meeting...why not write ONE article and summarize everything he said??? Sometimes I really wonder about (some of) you journalists...

  • PyroSA - 2011-11-01 15:53

    Enforcing spending limits on government does not make a president a dictator! If that money is not being used for the good of the people, why is it being spent?

  • Shirley - 2011-11-01 18:10

    Would of,could of ,should of. You have the backbone of a jelly fish! Grow some! maybe its all the different wives colour schemes clashing?

  • Heinrich - 2011-11-01 19:32

    "President would stop big bucks renovations" from being made known to the public.

  • Jason - 2011-11-03 12:35

    Dear Mr. President. So firstly you say the first you knew of this was when you read the paper, then sorry to say - you are failing us as a President. With the current difficulties we face, you should be ontop of your game, knowing where/how/why money is being spent, and by whos authority. Secondly being called a dictator, so what - provide for those in need, and you will have their support. Being the President of a Country entails making Decisions such as this, you are the President after all, and can pretty much override any decision you wish!! You are failing us, catch a wake up, or step down, simple!!

  • Rohin - 2011-11-03 12:39

    The president doesn't know what's going on? Scary thought.

  • Faith - 2011-11-05 23:52

    Atjhe haebo ntate Zuma hare hlanye U kiddin us dude? Ofcoz u knw abt ds!

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