DA says not a penny more for Zuma's Nkandla - Presidency rubbishes news of upgrades

APRIL 24, 2017
DA says not a penny more for Zuma's Nkandla - Presidency rubbishes news of upgrades

The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Sunday said not a cent more of taxpayers' monies should be spent on any new or further upgrades to President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead, regardless of how they are described or categorised by national government, following weekend reports that Zuma's controversial Nkandla home had been earmarked for renovations.

"The President must at once reject any plans by government to use public funds to renovate, refurbish, or upgrade any property at his Nkandla homestead – which has already benefitted from upgrades to the value of R250 million rand of public money," said DA leader, Mmusi Maimane.

"Reports this morning indicate that the Department of Public Works has already begun the process which will see millions of rands of public money spent to refurbish the property, repair shoddy workmanship, and to address security concerns.

"At things stand, corruption charges pertaining to the previous Nkandla upgrades have yet to be instituted – 1131 days after I laid such charges in terms of the Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt Activities Act 12 of 2004. Until such time as these charges have been investigated, and those found guilty of wrongdoing are held to account, any talk of further upgrades is outrageous."

Maimane said that it is shameful that "a man, who has single-handedly plunged our country into 'junk status' should live in palace of luxury, built and maintained with the people’s money".

"If Jacob Zuma wants refurbishments and upgrades, he must pay for it out of his own pocket," he said.

No renovations at Nkandla - Presidency

But the Presidency on Sunday said that there are no renovations underway or planned for Nkandla.

"The Presidency has noted with concern a report in the Sunday Times newspaper about alleged plans by the Department of Public Works to renovate certain aspects of the President's Nkandla residence," it said in a statement.

"The Presidency wishes to confirm and emphasise that there are no renovations of the private houses at the President's residence at Nkandla currently and no government department has indicated any proposal for renovations.

"We also wish to underscore that no government department, including the Department of Public Works, will be permitted to renovate any of the President's private houses in Nkandla."

'Inadequate response' - Maimane

Maimane hit back saying that the response from the Presidency is simply inadequate.

"The President must reject any and all future upgrades at Nkandla that uses public money – no matter how they are described or categorised. The South African people cannot be burdened with paying for any more upgrades, refurbishments or extensions at Zuma’s palace of corruption," he said.

"Indeed, the last bout of upgrades at Nkandla infamously saw the Constitutional Court ruling that Jacob Zuma had failed to uphold, defend and respect the Constitution, and he was ordered to personally pay back a portion of the expenses.

"In addition to this, while President Zuma was forced to personally pay back R7.8 million, the Income Tax Act defined fringe benefit tax plus penalties and interest that President Zuma is liable to pay is estimated at R63.9 million."

He said that the DA has since requested that Tax Ombud, Judge Bernard Ngoepe, investigate whether SARS have dragged their feet with regards to raising the tax, penalties and interest that are payable by President Zuma on Nkandla.

"The DA will continue in our efforts to remove Jacob Zuma from office, so that the assault on our country, our Constitution, and the public’s money is stopped, once and for all."