Cape Town – While re-emphasising in parliament yesterday that he had nothing to do with the security upgrades to his private Nkandla home, President Jacob Zuma seemingly fell victim to a Freudian slip.
“There are items in the kraal … the swimming pool. No. The firepool,” he quickly corrected himself, after loud clapping from opposition MPs, who quickly realised Zuma’s error in describing the long-defended “firepool” as a recreational swimming pool.
It has been adamantly defended by government as a security necessity. But Zuma remained at pains to insist in parliament yesterday that he had never lied to the public about the abuse of taxpayers’ money to fund additions to his R246 million KwaZulu-Natal homestead.
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Zuma said he had, however, benefited from the additions, but it was government that had put the extra facilities in place.
He argued that construction for all the other buildings, including housing quarters, was under way and paid for by a bond he had applied for and was granted while he was still deputy president.
On the basis of the public protector’s report into Nkandla, the Constitutional Court earlier this year ruled that Zuma was accountable to repay costs.
“The family [and myself] … indirectly benefited and there must be a reasonable amount to be paid.
“That’s the true story, so I’m telling you, people of South Africa, I never lied,” Zuma said.
“It cannot be correct when you say my homestead was paid for by the government. It’s not true. The first phase of it, there is a bond that I am paying.
“Government came as soon as I became the president … government came with a plan and I said that plan is not going to fit here. We [my family] built the house. Zuma also faced questions about his dealings with the influential Gupta family.
“Well, I know nothing about the business dealings of the Guptas … It’s not my business,” he said.
Earlier, the president was almost stopped in his tracks from taking the podium when the EFF again disrupted parliament in an attempt to stop him addressing the institution.