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Madonsela to probe 'Zumaville'

Publish date: 18 October 2012
Issue Number: 337
Diary: Legalbrief Forensic
Category: General

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela will investigate the development of a R2bn town in President Jacob Zuma's home village of Nkandla, her office said yesterday.

Spokesperson Kgalalelo Masibi said the investigation into the project would be conducted separately from the investigation into the development of Zuma's Nkandla residence, according to a report on the News24 site. AfriForum said earlier yesterday that Madonsela would investigate the Umlalazi-Nkandla Smart Growth Centre project, which was dubbed 'Zumaville'. The planned new town would be constructed 3km from Zuma's home in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal. The government would reportedly direct more than R1bn of taxpayers' money into the development, while a further R1bn would be raised from the private sector. Full report on the News24 site

Meanwhile, spending on Zuma's home in Nkandla continues to grow. A report in Die Burger says considerable amounts of money have been spent with a lift company and on bulletproof windows. The newspaper claims to have seen new information and documents showing the renovations at Nkandla have already cost taxpayers almost R250m. According to these documents, the Department of Public Works has spent R193m on construction and R54m on consultants since 2009. This brings the total cost to R247m - against the original budgeted cost which was R23m in 2009. According to the report, the Department of Public Works reiterated that all government expenses at Nkandla comply with guidelines in the Ministerial Handbook. It added that the Nkandla estate was a national key point, so information cannot be divulged. Full report in Die Burger

Zuma has rejected media reports on the construction plans as 'malicious and inaccurate', according to a Beeld report. The Presidency issued a statement this week rejecting 'the continuing campaign'. Zuma says the renovations started long before 2009 when he became President. 'The upgrading was a family decision and the family paid the costs from its own funds,' Zuma said. Only after he took office did additional security and medical arrangements come into play. Zuma did not elaborate on the reported estimated costs for the improvements, the report notes. Co-operative Governance Minister Richard Baloyi said Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi would investigate and resolve the matter. 'The Cabinet earlier decided to give Nxesi an opportunity to investigate the possibility of corruption in his department. The investigation relates to the possible artificial inflation of prices involved in the upgrading at Nkandla.' Full Beeld report