DA's Nkandla inquiry rejected

Govt. has rejected the DA’s inquiry into Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla upgrade.

The upgraded Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal, which allegedly cost more than R200 million to upgrade. Picture: City Press.

CAPE TOWN - The Democratic Alliance on Wednesday claimed it was prevented from directing questions at President Jacob Zuma about the controversial Nkandla upgrade.

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.

DA Parliamentary Leader Lindiwe Mazibuko submitted questions to the presidency, the defence ministry and police department in hope that the matter will be debated.

Mazibuko said her submissions have all been rejected.

"I believe this is a decision which sets a very dangerous precedent, because it allows parliament to protect the presidency from answering difficult questions."

The opposition wants Zuma to come clean about the multimillion rand upgrade and to reveal how much he is contributing, personally.

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 multimillion rand property upgrade.

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

RESPONSE

Two weeks ago, the Presidency said the Zuma family are paying for upgradesfrom their own pockets.

It also rejected "the ongoing campaign by the media" of linking every development around the KwaZulu-Natal village to Zuma.

The Presidency said it rejected the mischievous and inaccurate insinuation that the upgrade and construction of roads around Nkandla was because of favouritism - as the president lives there.

The Mercury newspaper previously reported that a stretch of road linking Zuma's village to Kranskop had been built at a cost of R290 million, while another road to Eshowe cost R292 million.

The Presidency said the road construction started in 2003, and that Nkandla was one of 23 districts identified by the government for development.

It also said the upgrade of Zuma's residence began long before he became president, and that it was a family decision to start the extensions - paying out of their own pockets.

The issue came to light last month when the City Press newspaper reported that taxpayers paid for 95 percent of the renovations to Zuma's homestead.

It said upgrades, which would amount to a total of R203 million, would include underground living quarters, a health facility for Zuma and his family, a helicopter pad, as well as playgrounds and a centre for visitors.

Last month, Zuma told a Cabinet meeting that he was not embarrassed about improvements in Nkandla.

He said he is committed to rural development and other areas will get their chance.