Nkandla report: Zuma should face the music
DURING every election around the globe, competing camps will try to taint their opponents. South Africa is going to holds its general elections on the 7th of May and at the moment temperatures have already shown some signs of rising with the incumbent, Jacob Zuma, being in hot soup. Zuma is accused of using state resources to enrich himself in the name of developing his rural home, Nkandla.
The Nkandla report is the document outlining how Zuma and some of his blue eyed boys used state resources to developing his home. The document has however been released at a very crucial moment where the country is heading for elections. The document was compiled by the office of the public protector Thuli Madonsela. Madonsela released the report after two years of investigation into the state upgrade of Nkandla in a report titled Secure in Comfort, raining down findings of maladministration, improper behaviour, ethical violations and procedural failings on several ministers and their departments, and on Zuma himself. According to the report, when villagers want to access the clinic they would mean entering Zuma’s homestead, either by scaling the security fence or through a police checkpoint. The homestead has a swimming pool that has never been used by the local residents. The clinic remains without stock, although public protector’s team hopes it will serve its “purpose” in the future. What is shocking is that all the facilities that were means to benefit the community are located close to Zuma’s home and inaccessible to the locals. Is this what a President should do?
Madonsela found that Zuma had improperly benefited from a grand, excessive, opulent and obscene government upgrade to his homestead and should repay a “reasonable percentage” of about R20-million worth of upgrades. Features, for which Zuma should bear at least part of the cost, Madonsela said, include the swimming pool (which never really was a “fire pool”) and the cattle kraal, which she said Zuma himself had had a hand in. Madonsela could find no reason why the swimming pool, the helipads, a military clinic and housing for members of the police’s VIP protection service were not located closer to the community rather than behind the security fence of the Zuma compound. She said that the government’s explanations were also inadequate. With all this, Madonsela was reported by the South African media saying: “The excessive and improper manner in which the Nkandla project was implemented resulted in substantial value being unduly added to the president’s private property.” With all this, Zuma must face the music and if it means being charged let that be so. Former ANC youth league President, Julius Malema, was fired from the party for what they called “bad behavior”. I also think that what Zuma did is not any were near being a called good behavior. The ANC took a momentous decision in September 2008 when it ‘recalled’ a president. Today, the ANC could do the same – or at least ensure that Zuma is not the party’s presidential candidate in May and spare the country impeachment proceedings. Instead of protecting him, the ANC needs to put the country and its people first. It should strengthen bodies such as the public protector, rather than undermining them, and should bolster the independence of the judiciary and criminal justice system.