South African President Jacob Zuma has maintained that it was his family that paid for his Nkandla homestead as he previously told the Parliament.
As he was questioned by opposition MPs in the National Assembly on Tuesday, he instructed them to “just keep quiet and listen” to his explanation.
During the question time, DA leader Mmusi Maimane wanted him to explain exactly how his family had come to benefit from extensive upgrades at the Nkandla homestead.
He went ahead to quote Zuma’s previous statement when he was being probed for the money spent on upgrading his private residence.
“all the buildings and every room that we use in that residence were built by ourselves as a family and not by government. I have never asked government to build a home for me and it has not done so. The government has not built a home for me. I engaged the banks and I’m still paying a bond for the first phase of my home.”
However, from the findings of the Constitutional Court and the Public Protector‚ Zuma and his family had excessively benefited from the upgrades via taxpayers’ money.
“Both statements cannot hold true. So either the Constitutional Court and the Public Protector are lying to the people of South Africa or in fact you are lying to the people of South Africa‚” he said.
In his reply, Zuma accused DA leader of twisting the question in a crafty fashion that makes it hard to acess the real situation: “I must say to the honourable member‚ I did not lie,” he maintained adding that the ugrade at the homestead had already commenced before he became the president.
Accordimng to Zuma, Three homes were already under construction.
“Government came‚ as soon as I became president‚ with a plan based on the old homestead before it was extended. They came with a plan. I said‚ ‘Your plan is not going to fit here because your plan is not in keeping with the size that I am now extending’. They went back to work on it. That’s when they came back‚ the building‚ landscaping‚ everything was on‚” he said.
When the interuptions became unbearable, Zumashed lashed out: “Just keep quiet and listen‚” he said.
“The Public Protector said what government provided as security features in my homestead …. These items they represent the kraal‚ fowl run‚ swimming pool‚ um‚ yebo‚ fire pool yes‚ fire pool‚ and a waiting room and the amphitheatre. Five. They are not talking about a house that people live in with bedrooms and living rooms.”
“The first phase of it‚ I have a bond that I’m paying. The second one‚ the family paid. Not the five issues that were built by government …. I therefore never lied‚” Zuma maintained.
The Constitutional Court ruled that Zuma and his family had indirectly benefited from the upgrades at his Nkandla homestaed and therefore, he must repay a reasonable portion of the the money used for the upgrade.
Though rumour has it that Zuma might end up paying only R1million from the money spent on his Nkandla homestead, Treasury is yet to determine the actual amount that must be repaid.