The Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, has opened an investigation into allegations surrounding the publicly funded construction at the private residence of President Jacob Zuma in Kwa-Zulu Natal.
DA parliamentary leader, Lindiwe Mazibuko, was amongst those that had submitted applications for an investigation, and was pleased it would now go ahead:
This is the first of many investigations that will need to be initiated to ensure that the President is held fully accountable for his exorbitant and unnecessary cash splurge of taxpayer’s money.
On Sunday, Madonsela confirmed to the City Press that an investigation was now underway, and that the first complaint had been submitted a few months ago.
Which begs the question – why is the investigation only starting now?
Yes, an investigation is under way. Because of our resource constraints, the investigation hasn’t gone further than contacting the presidency. We are asking the presidency who makes what decisions and who is accountable. This involves more than just [the department of ] public works.
What we know so far is that we shouldn’t expect to hear very much more for a while, especially if what acting public works director-general Mandisa Fatyela-Lindie said on Friday is anything to go by:
You will never know how much was spent for all the presidents because it is classified. The Defence Act will take me to jail [if I disclosed that].
Probed on the fact that the costs were to be in the region of R238 million: his answer was again “classified”:
We can’t confirm. That is classified information. Our legal interpretation of the Defence Act prohibits any official from releasing classified information.
Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi agreed, and said that a large family needs a large home:
There’s no way we can classify the president’s residence [private or otherwise] like any other residence… unless you are in denial because it is a particular president. We have to respect all cultures. The president comes from a rural area, not a city, and the president’s family, whether you accept the family or not, is in Nkandla, and it’s not a small family.
This is definitely not the Toblerone Affair, so one can only hope that the investigation goes somewhere.
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