What Zuma told Par­lia­ment

Weekend Witness - - News -

RE­SPOND­ING to a ques­tion on who funded the up­grades at Nkandla, Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma on March 20 in the Na­tional As­sem­bly, an­swered:

“In the re­cent past … the fam­ily com­mis­sioned cer­tain im­prove­ments to the res­i­dences for its own ac­count. I was, ac­cord­ingly, aware of th­ese ren­o­va­tions to the ex­tent that it re­lates to my fam­ily res­i­dence, which was self­funded. It re­mains a pri­vate fam­ily mat­ter.

“Nat­u­rally, I was in­formed that im­prove­ments needed to be made at the fam­ily res­i­dence to en­hance the se­cu­rity of the head of state. The na­ture and form of im­prove­ments were de­cided upon by the rel­e­vant of­fi­cials through their de­part­ments.”

DA Par­lia­men­tary leader Lindiwe Maz­ibuko chal­lenged this: “I have here a let­ter that shows he [Zuma] must have known. It is a let­ter ad­dressed to him by the for­mer Min­is­ter of Pub­lic Works, the hon­ourable Gwen Mahlangu­Nk­abinde, set­ting out the de­tails of the project, in­clud­ing that money was be­ing spent on non­se­cu­rity items.

“Did the hon­ourable pres­i­dent re­ceive this let­ter from the Depart­ment of Pub­lic Works? In ad­di­tion, when he re­ceived it, why did he not im­me­di­ately in­ter­vene to pre­vent this ou­tra­geous ex­pen­di­ture of R206 mil­lion on a project at his pri­vate home in Nkandla?”

Zuma de­nied any knowl­edge of the let­ter. “No let­ter has ever been re­ceived by me. That is a very clear, straight an­swer.”

One of the MPs asked: “Are you say­ing, hon­ourable pres­i­dent, that the tuck shop, the soc­cer field, the lift, the clinic, at the end of the day, will not be part of the Zuma es­tate, and, there­fore, has not been fi­nanced by the tax­pay­ers’ money? Are you say­ing … that all th­ese things have got to do with se­cu­rity — in­clud­ing the lift and the tuck shop?”

To which Zuma replied: “No, there is no gov­ern­ment that has built my house. With re­gard to my houses, gov­ern­ment rec­om­mended spe­cific se­cu­rity fea­tures on my houses. The tuck shop has been there all the time.

“The ex­pla­na­tion was that was a se­cu­rity risk be­cause no­body knows who comes into the cen­tre of the house car­ry­ing what. It had to be re­moved from the cen­tre of the homestead to the gate, so that it can deal with those se­cu­rity con­sid­er­a­tions.”

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