South African President Jacob Zuma has plans to develop a ZAR two billion city, dubbed Zumaville project. ZAR is South Africa’s official currency. According to reports, two weeks ago, Zuma met with local businesses and discussed the concept of building a city. The official name for the town is Umlalazi-Nkandla, Smart Growth Centre.
The proposed development has been in discussion stages for almost two years, and during August 2012 Lindiwe Mazibuko, parliamentary spokesperson of the Democratic Alliance (DA) party asked the president to justify spending one billion ZAR. In the meantime, the amount of money required to complete this project has escalated to two billion ZAR. The DA called for an investigation and raised concern over the people in KwaZulu-Natal lacking the most basic services.
At the time, Zuma’s spokesperson Mac Maharaj, said the Zumaville project is one of the many proposed developments for the rural areas of South Africa. Mazibuko argued that the public funds should be directed to support more relevant rural township projects.
According to Jacob Zuma, this new project will be the first city built by black people since the beginning of democracy. The new city will be close to the Zuma homestead, Nkandla and will include a shopping centre.
The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform will oversee the entire property development and confirmed the problems experienced last year regarding the plans have now been finalized. It is expected to have the entire project back on track within the next few months.
Private investors are allegedly involved with the project, and no names have been given. Masibambisane, a rural development company, co-chaired by Jacob Zuma and his cousin Sibusiso Mzobe are the plan of the Zumaville project.
Tender bids for the new town planning development closed on Friday and presented a small crisis with problems arising. There was clearly confusion between government departments and private business who did not know about their involvement of the project. Meanwhile, the innovative company Masibambisane, claimed bankruptcy and said there was no money. Zuma’s cousin Mzobe said he had to use his personal funds to pay wages.
The Zumaville project will face an investigation by the Parliamentary committee to ensure that preferential treatment from government is not abused. The public protector will investigate to ensure the correct procedures are followed.
The Province of Kwa-Zulu Natal is almost the same size as Portugal and measures 57,228 square miles. The Ingonyama Trust administered by the Zulu King and eight members of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform own thirty two percent of the area. The trustees are responsible for the land record and manage the mineral rights of the region.
According to Jacob Zuma, the new development will be a first of its kind, and the president did say he would create jobs, maybe this is his way of contributing to his promise. Public outcry at the cost for this project continues to annoy the people who are still coming to terms with the Nkandla scandal.
Big businesses and government departments have implemented the beginning of the Zumaville project and according to Jacob Zuma, the development is moving ahead. Zumaville will be the first post apartheid town to be built in South Africa.
By Laura Oneale