Nkandla. A dwelling that has submerged the political, media and social landscapes into contentious debate on security upgrades into Jacob Zuma’s homestead in KwaZulu-Natal.
“Nkaaandla”, as recently called by Zuma in a Parliamentary sitting – which he used to mock the opposition’s stance on their pronunciations of his “not-so-extravagant” abode.
Not so extravagant? Correct.
A total of R246 million was the official price tag we are told, of taxpayers’ hard earned cash spent on a project that resembled nothing of its monetary value.
MPs and journalists were given opportunity to inspect this property recently, which left an extra-bitter taste on their tongues, and more questions left to be asked.
What they found was far short of what we all have been imagining the inner spacing’s to be of immense opulence.
The famous “firepool”, used as described by police minister Nathi Nhleko, has nothing to do with recreational activities. It didn’t have chlorine in it, so it couldn’t be used for those lazy days by the pool, he basically told parliament this week.
Really? We also saw pictures of this pool, shaped as a tear drop.
My colleague Farrah Francis put it aptly this week when she said: “The tear shaped ‘fire pool’ is the most ironic part of Nkaanddddla. I bet it is real tears in there. I would cry too after spending R250 mil and seeing the final result.”
From part of that amount, we are told that R135 million had been spent on 21 homes for members of the SA National Defence Force and Police around the perimeter of Nkandla.
At R6 million each, one would imagine it to be rather elaborate.
But in fact, what we saw was described as a two bedroomed thatched “homes”, that resembled nothing of a plush marine side Balito home, or a lavish Fourways townhouse.
No, these were bungalows.
So unless the contractors used some sort of highly-impervious earthquake-resistant concrete on this project, I cannot imagine where all that money went to.
These homes were hardly inhabited and a clinic inside Nkandla is not even being used.
Robbed, misled and hoodwinked by an architect who needs to answer for the poor upgrades to Nkandla, government has said in its defence of Number One.
Zuma’s former spokesperson Mac Maharaj recently broke his silence over the issue – saying that he had warned the President he should have prepared to pay back the money on the upgrades, reported the Financial Times. Zuma in turn responded to Maharaj with a no as he did not ask for security enhancements.
There lies Zuma’s two biggest flaws – stubbornness and a failure to take responsibility.
Tell us Mr President, if you weren’t aware of what was going during those upgrades… how do you then run a country?
Don’t you see Mr President, that your countrymen – the poorest of the poor – are suffering?
It is time Mr President, to do the right thing.