NKANDLA - Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille on Sunday laid charges under the Gatherings Act against the ANC KwaZulu-Natal, after hundreds of the party's members made it impossible for her to inspect President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla homestead.
Zille and a group of other DA officials were on Sunday forced to abandon their plan to tour the controversial multimillion Rand development, after they were met by protesters who refused them entry.
She had a few words for the energetic crowd of around 200 people holding ANC flags and blocking DA members from approaching Zuma’s private residence.
“Phansi nge-Corruption, phansi (Down with corruption down)”.
The ANC had strongly criticised the party’s planned inspection, saying it was a violation of Zuma’s right to privacy.
But Zille said the president lost the right to call his home a private residence, following reports that more than R200 million was spent on renovations to his home and that he would only pay for 5 percent of the costs.
“Nkandla belongs to each and every South African who has to sacrifice the basic services they need, so that the President could turn his home into a five-star fortressed palace.
“One day we will look at it as a monument to the fight against corruption, a reminder of a President who thought he could get away with stealing the people’s money.”
As a last resort, the Western Cape Premier turned to the law to lay a charge at the Nkandla Police Station.
But the crowd followed her to the police station, making it clear that their illegal gathering would not be over until they saw Zille and her team leaving the area.
ANC members and the party’s armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe, sat and laid in the middle of a road leading back to the homestead, singing and chanting slogans.
Zille said the demonstrators violated the country's constitution by stopping them from continuing with their plans.
ANC's Thulani Mashaba said the Zuma family was upset by Zille's visit.
“I met the family members and they are all angered by Helen Zille’s decision.”
As sirens announced the departure of the opposition party leader, the locals celebrated in song.
The opposition party also announced that it would give Zuma until Wednesday to respond to a memorandum it handed to him last month, warning that he would face legal action if he failed to do so.
“On the 16th of October we wrote to the President, and to various government ministers, asking for the truth about Nkandla. We asked them for details on how much was spent, on what, by whom, and under what provision of law.”