Zuma not to blame for Nkandla

Thulas Nxesi says the president is not responsible for the controversial upgrade of his homestead.

The upgraded Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal, which allegedly cost more than R230 million to upgrade. Picture: City Press.

CAPE TOWN - President Jacob Zuma is not to blame for a controversial upgrade to his Nkandla homestead, Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi said on Tuesday.

Nkandla has been in the headlines after it emerged taxpayers will end up footing a large portion of the bill (thought to be around R230 million) for the revamp of Zuma's KwaZulu-Natal homestead.

The matter was brought up in the National Assembly on Tuesday, sparking a fierce debate.

While Nkandla was not officially dealt with in the National Assembly, a Democratic Alliance member of Parliament (MP) asked a question about the multi-million rand property upgrade.

Anchen Dreier could not resist raising the Nkandla debacle and labelled Zuma an enemy of the poor.

Meanwhile, the Congress of the People's (COPE) Smuts Ngonyama said it was not acceptable.

"Under the circumstances, spending scarce resources on Nkandla is scandalous and immoral. Expenditure on the consumption site must be reduced."

Nxesi insisted the details could not be made public.

"Members are aware of the legal constraints on providing information in relation to a national key point and we have proven that it is a national key point."

According to The City Press, Zuma's revamped homestead will include underground living quarters, a health facility for Zuma and his family, a helicopter pad, houses for the air force and police units, as well as playgrounds and a centre for visitors.