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MK members block road to Zuma’s home

Umkhonto we Sizwe protesters are lying on the road leading to President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla home.

A group of Umkhonto we Sizwe protesters demonstrated outside President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal on 4 November 2012. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN

NKANDLA - There was a stand-off between police and demonstrators outside President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal on Sunday.

A group of Umkhonto we Sizwe protesters laid in the middle of the road leading to the president's home.

Police were on alert, amid fears of a confrontation, with calls for the Democratic Alliance (DA) to abandon their visit to inspect the controversial upgrade to the president's compound.

The upgrades to Zuma's Nkandla homestead reportedly cost over R200 million and the City Press has said Zuma will only pay for 10 percent of the total cost of renovations which will include underground living quarters, a health facility for Zuma and his family, a helicopter pad, as well as playgrounds.

The opposition party's visit has been strongly criticised by the ANC and the South African Communist Party (SACP).

The Umkhonto we Sizwe protesters said their demonstration was in support of the ANC president and his privacy.

Leader Thulani Mashaba said they were expecting hundreds of ANC members to gather there to show their unhappiness with the DA's visit.

The ANC has called the DA's visit a publicity stunt and says it is an invasion on Zuma and his family's privacy.

"We view this as unnecessary and unwarranted provocation with an intent to violate the privacy of the President, his family and the people of eNkandla," spokesman Jackson Mthembu said in a statement.

SACP spokesperson Malesela Maleka on Saturday warned that DA officials would have to take full responsibility for the consequences of their visit to Nkandla.

"The SACP wishes to caution that Helen Zille must take personal responsibility, together with the DA, for any consequences arising out of such racist, insensitive and extremely provocative actions."

Maleka further urged Zille to "pull out of [the party's] dangerous publicity stunt" in the interest of "national cohesion and unity".

Meanwhile, police spokesperson Jay Naicker said additional police officers were deployed to and around the area to deal with any possible outbreak of violence.