Surprise! Zumaville is a no-show, but we still paid for it
Former president Jacob Zuma’s dream of building a massive town on the doorstep of his Nkandla compound appears to be up in smoke – with millions of taxpayer rands wasted.
The R2-billion project is in shambles with only a R16-million IT centre having been built since “Zumaville”, as it was dubbed, was first mooted about halfway through Zuma’s first term in office.
But six years and millions of rands already wasted after it was first mooted, very little progress has been made.
The architects who designed the town, Johannesburg-based Mashabane Rose Associates, and Kombani Consulting, were embroiled in a legal battle over unpaid fees. Phil Mashabane, a director at the firm, confirmed it was no longer part of the project and that Kombani Consultants had “since disappeared from the business landscape”.
Rural Development spokesperson Linda Page said the department does not know how much the planned town will cost, hasn’t appointed a developer, and the master plan has been overtaken by other developments, such as RDP housing in Nxamalala.
Ingonyama Trust Board chairman Judge Jerome Ngwenya said it was a legal requirement for a development that prior written consent from the relevant traditional council first be obtained. He said they had no record of this for Zumaville.
KZN premier’s office spokesperson Thami Ngidi didn’t respond to queries about the project, while the Treasury said it was last involved in the project in 2014.
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