President Jacob Zuma claimed he had to take out a bond for extensions done at his homestead in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal.
He responded to a parliamentary question from DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko about building on his private residence, insisting a distinction should be made between work he has mandated, as opposed to security enhancements undertaken by government, including fencing, bulletproof windows and a bunker.
“Let me help you understand the facts as they are,” a visibly irate Zuma told MPs in the National Assembly. “We as the Zuma family built our own home. What’s been shown on TV — these are the houses built by me — not by government. I had to engage the bank and I’m still paying a bond for the extensions done.”
Zuma also laid into opposition parties and the media for “making the country believe” that government built a house for him. He was specifically referring to a recent incident where DA leader Helen Zille and Mazibuko tried to walk towards his house, but were blocked by the police.
“Leaders of political parties think they can come and photograph my house. I feel very aggrieved. I take exception to this.” He added that he welcomed any investigations into the matter, including a probe by public protector Thuli Madonsela.
In a follow-up question, Mazibuko responded: “Let me be very clear. The fact that government is spending R250m to upgrade — not a presidential house, but the president’s own house — this is what is at issue here.”
“If the president wants to talk about security enhancements I have the following questions for him: Air-conditioned rooms in each of the houses — is that a security enhancement? A visitor’s centre, guest rooms and a gymnasium — are those security enhancements?” The DA takes exception to the fact that these refurbishments are all done at his private home, Mazibuko said.
Zuma maintained the information was incorrect and the security enhancements should not be confused with renovations made to his private residence.
- Liesl Peyper