Residents harass new Nkandla home owner

FILE PICTURE: Sthandiwe Hlongwana thanks EFF leader Julius Malema after the party built a house for he in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal. Picture: Supplied

The woman at the centre of the controversy between the ANC and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal, has asked President Jacob Zuma to protect her from harassment.

Julius Malema’s EFF built a house for Sthandiwe Hlongwane a stone’s throw from the president’s private residence. She yesterday appealed to President Zuma to call on ANC supporters in the area to refrain from harassing her.

“I respect him [Zuma] a lot and know that if he can talk to them they will stop harassing me,” she said.

Hlongwane, 31, who lives about 200 metres from Zuma’s homestead, was over the moon on Saturday when Malema handed her the keys to a new two-bedroom house.

“I still cannot believe what Malema and his people have done for me, I still think I’m dreaming,” she said.

On Saturday Hlongwane clung to Malema for the better part of the handover ceremony, repeatedly telling the EFF leader that he had saved her from poverty.

“You will always be very special to me – I have been suffering for many years and had already concluded that my life will never improve,” she said.

However, the threat to her new found happiness looms large.

ANC members in the community, including Zuma’s family, see the building of the house as a ploy by Malema and his party to campaign for votes in the area.

“On Boxing Day, they came here singing songs and chanting anti-Malema slogans – they tried to attack us but the police intervened,” Hlongwane, a mother of two, said.

As Malema handed over the house to Hlongwane, the EFF leader did not miss the opportunity to highlight the contrast between her residence and the president’s.

“Any African who stays in a beautiful house like that while his neighbours live in shacks must be ashamed,” he said.

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