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Presidency questions Zille’s intentions

The Presidency has questioned if Helen Zille’s Nkandla visit was a publicity stunt.

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.

JOHANNESBURG - Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille on Monday said her party's intention, when it visited Nkandla on Sunday, was to see what public money was being spent on.

Zille and other DA officials were stopped in their tracks when they went to inspect development in and around President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla homestead.

They were met by ANC members who prevented them from approaching the president's KwaZulu-Natal residence.

As a last resort, Zille went to a local police station to lay charges under the Gatherings Act against the KwaZulu-Natal ANC before leaving the area.

In a heated debate with Presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj on Talk Radio 702, Zille insisted the DA did not want to provoke anyone, but that her delegation was performing its oversight role.

Our primary method of oversight in Parliament is through questions, but is also through visits.

Parliamentarians undertake visits all the time around the country, to see how money is being spent.

But Maharaj insists the visit was Zille's way of getting attention.

"She wants to do it through the megaphone, and we have to ask ourselves 'what is behind all of this?'

"Is she serious about it? Is it going to assist the public protector and the ANC or is she involved in just getting publicity?"

The opposition party has given Zuma until Wednesday to make public the details on the government funds spent on Nkandla, or face legal action.

Last month, the City Press reported that R203 million had already been spent on renovations to Zuma's private residence.

It said taxpayers would be paying for 95 percent of the renovations, which will include a health care facility for the presidential family, underground bunkers and a playground.