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DA gives Zuma a 72-hour deadline

The DA says President Jacob Zuma has 72 hours to respond to its memorandum or face legal action.

DA leader Helen Zille and party supporters are seen inside the Nkandla Police Station on 4 November 2012. The party had planned to inspect renovations made to President Jacob Zuma’s KZN home. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN.

NKANDLA - KwaZulu-Natal police earlier on Sunday stood in between Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille, her supporters and ANC demonstrators outside President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla home - to prevent clashes between the two groups.

Earlier, there was a standoff between the police and demonstrators ahead of the arrival of DA officials and supporters.

Police then moved to close the main road in Nkandla.

Members of the ANC's armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe, lay on the road leading up to the residence, preventing DA leaders from approaching.

The opposition party had planned to deliver over a thousand letters from children to the president, "so that he can be reminded of what the real priorities of government spending should be".

"The letters to the President describe the difficult and often tragic learning conditions in Limpopo schools.

"The DA calls on the President to personally read every single one of these letters so that he can be reminded of what the real priorities of government spending should be," the party said in a statement.

The DA's planned inspection visit comes after the City Press reported that upgrades to his Nkandla homestead would cost more than R200 million.

According to the newspaper, taxpayers will be paying for 95 percent of the total cost of the face-lift which will include underground living quarters, a health facility for Zuma and his family and a helicopter pad.

"Children are the victims of the Limpopo education crisis but have the least opportunities to make their voices heard.

"For this reason, the DA started collecting these letters in mid-July 2012 from children in the Tzaneen, Mopani, Letaba, Phalaborwa and Maruleng districts in the province," read the party's statement.

Learners in Limpopo were without the necessary textbooks for most of the academic year, after a tender awarded to suppliers EduSolutions was deemed invalid in April.

Zille said the opposition party would now give Zuma 72 hours to respond to a memorandum it handed to him last month, saying 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."

The Western Cape Premier said it was unfortunate that her planned inspection of Zuma's home was interrupted by an illegal protest.

She and other DA officials left Zuma's home and approached the Nkandla Police Station to open a criminal case against the president.

They would not say what the charges would be laid.

Investigations into the City Press' reports are being investigated by the offices of the public protector and auditor general.