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If you can, I hope you will catch Nkandla, The Movie, now show­ing as Po­lice Min­is­ter Nathi Nh­leko makes pre­sen­ta­tions across the coun­try.

On Fri­day, the min­is­ter screened it for the SA Na­tional Ed­i­tors’ Fo­rum. It is the an­ti­dote to Public Pro­tec­tor Thuli Madon­sela’s tome, Se­cure in Com­fort, which weighs in at a hefty 447 pages.

The min­is­ter’s ver­sion is a more en­ter­tain­ing ver­sion than Madon­sela’s schol­arly re­port, which is, let’s face it, quite dry.

Nh­leko’s ver­sion is pure showbiz, com­plete with pho­to­graphs, two mul­ti­me­dia videos, an al­bum of pho­to­graphs of Nkandla that are mul­ti­coloured and mul­ti­an­gled. I feel close to my pres­i­dent af­ter the ex­clu­sive view­ing on Fri­day (there were full-frontal shots and aerial ones too), although I worry about what hap­pened to the Na­tional Key Points Act by which gov­ern­ment tried to ban all of us from show­ing pho­to­graphs of the pres­i­den­tial pad last year be­cause it would harm the se­cu­rity of Num­ber 1.

The pre­sen­ta­tion’s key point is that most of the spend­ing, in fact R135 mil­lion of it, went on a se­cu­rity com­plex where 21 houses were built for the se­cu­rity de­tail – each with three bed­rooms. As City Press re­ported in March, the houses are stand­ing empty and the de­tail stay in nearby B&Bs (at taxpayers’ ex­pense).

Nh­leko says the na­tion’s in­ves­tiga­tive re­porters should spend time fo­cus­ing on who or­dered these houses as he does not have a clue (although he is the po­lice min­is­ter, with a full house of de­tec­tives) and nei­ther does the pres­i­dent.

We saw im­ages of the pres­i­dent’s kraal and his healthy cows – and a video in which a cul­tural ex­pert ex­plains that a kraal is sa­cred and can­not be moved, as it is where the an­ces­tors also re­side. So the pres­i­dent’s neigh­bours had to be moved west of the es­tate at the cost of a few mil­lions. The min­is­ter also showed us the now in­fa­mous mini film set to the Ital­ian op­er­atic work O Sole Mio, in which po­lice of­fi­cers turned ac­tors and showed how the fire pool worked.

The Nkandla fire en­gine (a bakkie with a hosepipe) also starred, but it turned up 90 min­utes af­ter a bo­gus call – prov­ing why the first es­tate needs a swimming/fire pool. I was con­vinced, but no other view­ers I know share this view, but maybe they are just clever counter-rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies.

For­mer pres­i­dent Nel­son Man­dela played a cameo, or rather his pad at Qunu did. Nh­leko showed how Madiba also had a fire pool and a cat­tle culvert, and no­body made a fuss about those. Nh­leko didn’t men­tion that se­cu­rity up­grades to Qunu cost R28.2 mil­lion, while the Nkandla ren­o­va­tions cost R240 mil­lion – and the amount is grow­ing.

And in case we thought the pres­i­dent had built him­self an am­phithe­atre in ru­ral Nkandla, the min­is­ter at­tached a proper pic­ture of an am­phithe­atre in Canada (the min­is­ter said to say “Nkandla” and “Canada” out loud and you’ll un­der­stand the com­par­i­son, although I still don’t) to show that it is noth­ing fancy.

I was on the edge of my seat, laugh­ing, or per­haps it was cry­ing. This re­viewer gives five stars to the movie.

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