Comment and Analysis

There's more to Nkandla than meets the eye

Haji Mohamed Dawjee

It is wrong to castigate President Zuma and punish him for just wanting to be secure. As the head of our state, he deserves a fire pool, dammit.

President Jacob Zuma poses at his private Nkandla homestead. (Gallo)

Since the beginning of time… the beginning of President Jacob Zuma's time and this whole Nkandla saga that is, we as ordinary South African citizens have been judging too hastily the enormous spend on Zuma's Nkandla homestead. It is time to put things into perspective. An estate-sized perspective that is, with tuck shops and many rooms and lots of facilities. Because all is not as it seems.

It is wrong to castigate the president and punish him for just wanting to be secure. As the head of our state, he deserves a fire pool. Dammit, he deserves dragons too. And a giant moat with crocodiles. And for additional cash to raise funds and feed the people he certainly also deserves a basement filled with fighting lions so that in between ordering take out and continuously passing the buck on Marikana, his cronies can meet up, chill out and place bets to raise a pot of funds for good will. And it truly is a pity that none of the ministers who ardently take responsibility for all the existing upgrades forgot to consider the above. But to an extent, they can be forgiven. I mean, if the security upgrades cost "approximately R71-million" already, with "approximately R135-million" spent on operational needs and basic facilities and services, imagine the costs if considerations for dragon personnel were included, not to mention the building of a special holding room to store whips for said lions?

But in all honestly, we should be able to understand this Nkandla debacle. In the name of security, of course we should be able to understand. And the mere fact that we can take these upgrades and "chicken run" with them? We deserve a wrist slapping. Does the Ministerial Handbook make provisions for that? 

How could we be so stupid to just immediately assume that the retaining wall was an amphitheatre? For what? Gladiator fights? Just because it looks like a "structure constructed with steps". Of course it is just built to look like one, it takes the form of "stepped terraces" and is curved so that it can have stability against the earth. Ah, the art of deception. Of course it's just a retaining wall. Retaining the Earth. Or some earth, or state secrets, or … something. Forgive us, but our education when it comes to these higher grade – or shall I say "upgrade" – type things is not up to scratch. In fact, education isn't up to scratch, but that's probably another misunderstanding for another day.

If only gargoyles were real, nay, if only those accountable ministers did in fact decide to go with those looming dragons who wait to spit fire at intruders, then perhaps the additional costs of having to move the cattle kraal could have been avoided. I mean, citizens have been whining about this one till literally the cows come home. But thanks to the wonderful, soothing words of Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi, we now obviously understand that the cattle posed a threat to the security equipment. Never trust a cow, is what I always say – I mean, they have four stomachs. Greedy much? And also, if you don't pay attention closely enough, every time they say "moo", it sounds like "boo" … have you noticed? So well done Mr President for moving those dastardly cows – not that you knew about any of these upgrades of course. Because all this was done for your benefit, and not at your request. You, unlike cows, can of course be trusted.

And while we're on the subject of deceiving animals who intrude and pose risks of terrorism, a round of applause for relocating the chicken run, which was a potential hiding area for intruders, who now of course we understand to be the kraal of cows.

It all makes sense now. All of it. 


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