The report by Police Minister Nathi Nhleko on why President of South Africa Jacob Zuma does not have to pay back the money spent on the Nkandla homestead is a national joke. Do South African citizens understand security and the importance of protecting the president? The entire fiasco of trying to convince people that the vast amount of public money spent on upgrades to the Nkandla homestead is misleading. The reported outcome is a swing at the intelligence of people who are being treated like idiots.
Zuma has mixed up the personal lifestyle with official duties. There is no fine line between private and formal functions, and that is a huge problem. Security is not an issue, but the vast amount of money spent on chicken coups and fire pools do raise questions. Why would a chicken coup be classified as a security feature and how does an ordinary swimming pool become an essential safety feature.
The minister raised four strategic security points in the report clearing Zuma of any wrongdoing. The chicken coup was necessary to keep the chickens from running around the homestead and going near the fences that are equipped with sensors. It would probably have been annoying for the president and family to hear the alarms set off every hour or so and thus the need for the chicken coup.
The swimming pool, according to observers is nothing spectacular and the amount of money spent Zuma could have had exotic water features, slides and fountains included. The pool is classified as a security feature and referred to as a fire pool. The pool is a necessity for the safety of the president in case of a raging fire throughout the Nkandla homestead. The minister assured the briefing that the fire pool was primarily a security essential and could be used by the President, family and residents for entertainment.
The Amphitheater might look exactly like that, but it is not. There is no seating for visitors and it is tiered with soil retention walls designed to look like an amphitheater. The amphitheater is an essential emergency assembly point for police to brief or debrief on emergency matters. It is also a meeting point for homestead dwellers.
The cattle kraal is not just for animals but is sacred and linked to cultural habitation. The animals are safe behind multiple layers of high-tech security and safe from prying eyes of passing visitors. Allowing the animals to roam around free would also trigger the alarm linked to sensors, and as the kraal is positioned in a high-security zone, it was necessary for additional fencing. The expenses attached to the cattle kraal is worth double the value of the animals kept in it. It is a vanity kraal, and as Public Protector said in the first report, the cattle kraal was a non-security feature.
The wasteful expenditure at Nkandla could have been used to develop an upgrade the failing infrastructure around South Africa. Zuma could have kept Nkandla a private homestead and attended to official duties in government buildings in South Africa. There are mixed up priorities, and the Nkandla debacle is out of hand.
Political opposition parties in South Africa, are united over the greed and significant waste of money spent on upgrades to Nkandla. There is a concern that Zuma is distracting from the main job of governing South Africa. Controversies will continue, and as corrupt officials disregard the plight of the people, Zuma will be the target of corruption. Police Minister Nhleko said Zuma is a victim of unfair criticism and stated that as the security features of Nkandla are breached there is the need to implement more improvements. The spending at Nkandla is not over for the taxpayers of South Africa.
Opinion by Laura Oneale
Guardian LV – Is There a Strategy Behind the Secure Military Complex of Nkandla?
News 24 – Zuma does not have to pay back the Nkandla money
News 24 – Nkandla: Zuma’s rights ‘violated’ and experts’ integrity ‘questioned’
Photo Courtesy of Guardian LV – August 2014