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DA won't let Zuma's R203m homestead revamp 'go unanswered'

Sapa

The DA wants a probe into allegations that R203-million of taxpayers money would be used in the revamping of President Zuma's Nkandla homestead.

Workers clear sand on a newly tarred stretch of road near President Jacob Zuma’s home in Nkandla. (Rogan Ward, M&G)

"Reports that the department of public works will be spending millions on Zuma's private homestead is a serious abuse of tax payers' money by a department which is failing in almost every other key responsibility," Democratic Alliance (DA) Parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said in a statement.

"This expenditure by public works represents a serious confusion by the president and the minister of public works as to what the pressing priorities for South Africa are," she added.

The DA's outrage came after a report in the City Press stated that Zuma would only be footing five percent of the bill, which amounted to around R10,6-million.

Previous reports suggested that Zuma would pay for most of the revamping.

"[We] will not allow for this to go unanswered," said Mazibuko.

She said she wanted the Public Protector to investigate whether the money for the project had not been transferred from other projects that needed the funds.

The party also criticised the fact that the residence would be a private home and would not remain the state's property.

Apportioning costs
The City Press reported that the budget for the revamp was approved by the public works department in March last year.

According to the paper, Durban's public works regional manager Kenneth Khanyile wrote a memorandum last year to the then Minister of Public Works Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde saying their head office had assisted in apportioning costs between the department and Zuma.

Khanyile had reportedly informed Mahlangu-Nkabinde that they had already spent funds on certain building aspects which were initially meant to be catered for by Zuma.

"[Zuma] may want to implement these issues himself without the interference of the department or else he may want to opt to reimburse the department the same," Khanyile's memorandum was quoted as saying.

The presidency referred the City Press to the department of public works for answers but the department refused to give comment.

The "handling of information for this residence is protected in terms of the 1982 Protection of Information Act," the department's acting director-general Mandisa Fatyela-Lindie was quoted as saying.

The revamped house would contain 10 air conditioned rooms, underground living quarters, a clinic for Zuma and his family, 10 houses for security personnel, a helipad, houses for air force and police units, underground parking, playgrounds and visitors centres, said the City Press. – Sapa.

 

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