Editorials 23.7.2015 02:15 pm

Nkandla: where is the money?

A view of President Jacob Zuma's homestead Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal. Picture: AFP.

A view of President Jacob Zuma's homestead Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal. Picture: AFP.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) coined the term “pay back the money” and it has become their unofficial motto this year.

Of course, they are referring to the R249 million that was supposedly spent on security upgrades at Nkandla. The DA, civil society and many commentators have also called on President Jacob Zuma to pay back the money. What has become evident, however, since Police Minister Nathi Nhleko was tasked with determining how much money Zuma must pay back, is that the president will not pay a cent.

Yesterday, Cedrik Frolick said something that goes straight to the root of the problem. As an ANC MP, he said what he saw at Nkandla was modest, that the security was shocking and the president is definitely not secure in luxury. Say what?

The photographs that were making the rounds yesterday of the 21 SA Police Service and SA National Defence Force houses, at a price tag of R6 million each, certainly – without expert opinion – do not look worth anything near the exhorbitant said figure.

The obvious question is: “Where did the money go that was supposed to be spent on security at Nkandla?”

If what Frolick said is true, that what he saw yesterday did not, in his eyes, add up to the exorbitant figure spent, then the only conclusion is that bribes, kickbacks and a free-for-all was the order with tax money.

Nhleko said he does not know who authorised these SANDF houses. There have been suggestions that contractors and Public Works officials should be prosecuted if they had been involved.

All this smacks of tenderpreneurs and cadres lining up at the scent of one of the biggest government freebies in years. Slaughtering a scapegoat won’t make this go away. Following the money trail is the only way the whole truth will emerge.

 

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