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Not another cent of taxpayers’ money must be spent at Nkandla: Maimane

23 April 2017 - 14:41 By TMG Digital

Not another cent of taxpayers’ money must be spent on President Jacob Zuma’s private Nkandla homestead‚ the Democratic Alliance says.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said on Sunday the party rejected any new or further upgrades at Nkandla‚ regardless of how they were described or categorised by national government.

He was reacting to a report in the Sunday Times indicating that the Department of Public Works had already begun the process which would see millions of rand of public money spent to refurbish the property‚ repair shoddy workmanship‚ and to address security concerns.

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The Presidency was quick to deny the report on Sunday‚ saying it wished to “confirm and emphasise that there are no renovations of the private houses at the President's residence at Nkandla currently and no government department has indicated any proposal for renovations”.

“We also wish to underscore that no government department‚ including the Department of Public Works‚ will be permitted to renovate any of the President's private houses in Nkandla‚” Presidency spokesman Bongani Ngqulunga said. Maimane said Zuma must at once reject any plans by government to use public funds to renovate‚ refurbish‚ or upgrade any property at his Nkandla homestead – which had already benefited from upgrades to the value of R250 million of public money.

“As things stand‚ corruption charges pertaining to the previous Nkandla upgrades have yet to be instituted – 1‚131 days after I laid such charges in terms of the Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt Activities Act 12 of 2004. Until such time as these charges have been investigated‚ and those found guilty of wrongdoing are held to account‚ any talk of further upgrades is outrageous.

“It is shameful that a man who has single-handedly plunged our country into “junk status” should live in palace of luxury‚ built and maintained with the people’s money. If Jacob Zuma wants refurbishments and upgrades‚ he must pay for it out of his own pocket‚” Maimane asserted.

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He referred to the Presidency’s response as “simply inadequate”.

“The President must reject any and all future upgrades at Nkandla that uses public money – no matter how they are described or categorised. The South African people cannot be burdened with paying for any more upgrades‚ refurbishments or extensions at Zuma’s palace of corruption.

“Indeed‚ the last bout of upgrades at Nkandla infamously saw the Constitutional Court ruling that Jacob Zuma had failed to uphold‚ defend and respect the Constitution‚ and he was ordered to personally pay back a portion of the expenses‚” Maimane said.

He added: “In addition to this‚ while President Zuma was forced to personally pay back R7.8 million‚ the Income Tax Act defined fringe benefit tax plus penalties and interest that President Zuma is liable to pay is estimated at R63.9 million.

“The DA has since requested that Tax Ombud‚ Judge Bernard Ngoepe‚ investigate whether SARS have dragged their feet with regards to raising the tax‚ penalties and interest that are payable by President Zuma on Nkandla.

“The DA will continue in our efforts to remove Jacob Zuma from office‚ so that the assault on our country‚ our Constitution‚ and the public’s money is stopped‚ once and for all.”

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