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Sun Nov 23 18:04:32 SAST 2014

Sorry, Thulas, but SA wants better excuses than that

The Times Editorial | 28 January, 2013 00:09

The Times Editorial: If Minister of Public Works Thulas Nxesi truly believes that his report into the upgrading of President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla home will put to rest the allegations that state funds were abused, he must think again.

Yesterday, Nxesi told us that there is no evidence to indicate that public money was used to build or upgrade Zuma's private home.

But what is clear is that public funds to the tune of R206-million have been paid for Zuma's home security.

It is clear that the state has the capacity to spend, and has the will to speed up service delivery, as long as the beneficiary is a politician.

Though Zuma, as head of state, is entitled to a high level of security, it is a disgrace that R206-million was spent on it when the country he leads is facing the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.

The Department of Public Works, which is charged with providing housing for elected officials, is again found wanting.

Nxesi said yesterday that his department's supply-chain management policy had not been followed in full in the procuring of goods and services for the Nkandla project.

If Zuma, Nxesi and the ANC-led alliance are to be taken seriously when they claim to be fighting corruption, they should review the functions of the Public Works Department.

Though Nxesi's report fails to douse the anger over the amount spent on Nkandla, we hope that action will be taken against government officials, service providers and any others who benefited from this act of looting.

This government cannot continue to hide behind policies - or the notorious ministerial handbook, which entitles ministers to high-priced vehicles - that elevate politicians to the luxury of kings and queens while millions live in shacks and do not have enough to eat.

The ANC, if it wants to be taken seriously as a party for the masses, should begin to walk the talk and fight corruption at all levels.

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