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Media given restricted tour of Nkandla

Reporters were given an opportunity to inspect the Zuma homestead after an ad-hoc committee visit.

A group of 30 journalists were taken on a guided tour through President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla homestead on 26 July 2015. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

NKANDLA - After many months of accusations and heated debate in Parliament with the phrase ' pay back the money', government finally opened the gates of Nkandla allowing a media team to inspect the president's homestead over the weekend.

However, journalists weren't given free-reign and were only taken to designated areas.

The tour came after the South African National Editors Forum said it was disappointed by the limited access journalists had during a Parliamentary committee oversight visit to Zuma's home on Wednesday last week.

But the tour included a full demonstration of the controversial fire pool, the visitors' centre, cattle kraal, clinic, the police barracks as well as the mobile park homes.

The tour follows last week's visit by the Parliamentary ad-hoc committee to Nkandla where it was found the costs of the upgrades to the president's home had been grossly inflated by construction companies.

A full demonstration of the fire pool saw a tower of water drenching a building on the president's property with many locals looking on from the side of a nearby road.

Animals could be seen roaming freely throughout the Nkandla homestead, but Head of Special Projects, Major General Mondli Zuma said that's because motion detectors had not yet been installed.

"Once the motion detectors are in place and everything is installed, if you leave the chickens to be on the loose there'll be an interference because when they go through the infrared beams they trigger the alarm system."

The media tour was tightly controlled by Zuma's security team and some areas were strictly off limits.

Last week, the Public Works Department was called on to explain why millions of rands was spent on certain structures including the police barracks, which are not occupied.

A disciplinary hearing of 12 Public Works officials charged with irregular spending at Nkandla began in November 2014.

The officials faced various charges relating to misconduct, maladministration and violating departmental procedures.