Zuma must pay, say ANC vets

ANC veterans have challenged President Jacob Zuma to do the honourable thing and pay back a portion of the money spent on the nonsecurity upgrades at his private home in Nkandla, as recommended by the public protector. 

R246-million of state funds was used to improve Zuma’s family home in KwaZulu-Natal.

ANC Veterans’ League president Sandi Sejake, former ANC MP Ben Turok and former home affairs director general Mavuso Msimang were scathing in their criticism of Zuma’s apparent disregard of Thuli Madonsela’s recommendations.

Turok reiterated his call that Zuma should pay back money spent on nonessential upgrades.

“Whether the president ordered this construction or not, he has benefited. And if you benefit, then you ought to pay something. If somebody builds a swimming pool in my garden, I will know about it ... I promise you I would say I’m benefiting and I would pay something towards it even if I didn’t order it. That’s common sense.

“Common sense says to me, the man used to spend weekends at Nkandla and therefore saw all sorts of things happening. His judgment should have told him that these are things that will bring him some benefit and therefore he should say, ‘I did not instruct it, I blame the architect and the public service, but since it’s there, to be fair I am going to make a contribution’. I think the country will [then] leave him alone on this one.”

Sejake accused ANC MPs of failing to hold Zuma accountable in Parliament because of self-interest. “We [the ANC] sent people who can’t debate, but to defend their interests. They are using Zuma to feather their nests.”

The outspoken Sejake continued: “They know they can’t loot under someone’s leadership. These are the people who don’t have the interest of South Africa at heart. All this has got nothing to do with Zuma, but those in the ANC who want quick money.

“If I were in Zuma’s position, when there is so much outcry in the country, I would find something to do. It means there are things he is not doing correctly.”

Said Msimang: “It is obvious in South Africa that there is a crisis of confidence. Everywhere you hear about corruption and scandal. And Parliament has become an expensive circus.”

He blamed the ANC under Zuma’s leadership for allowing others in Parliament to dictate the battlefield. “You don’t allow your opponents to choose the battle-ground. Once the battleground has been chosen by somebody else, their rules dictate [action]. We should not create an excuse or situation where the battleground is chosen for us.”

Msimang said the ANC leadership had failed to deal decisively with public concerns: “Nkandla is going to stay on the agenda for as long as it stays unresolved.”

Turok told the Mail & Guardian that he found himself having to answer questions from ordinary ANC members concerned about the state of affairs in the ruling party.“Obviously there is a great deal of concern about all the scandals that are in newspapers.” – Politics Team



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