One of Britain’s respected and popular newspapers, the Daily Mail, is reporting that South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma, has spent £17.5million on his home town palace as his country is racked by poverty, with 13 million people surviving on less than £1 a day, and with two million having no access to decent toilet facilities.
The money was spent on upgrading his rural family home with Lavish works that included the construction of 31 new houses, an underground bunker accessed by lifts and a helipad which will cost almost as much as the £19 million British taxpayers send to South Africa in annual aid.
According to the newspaper, the costly upgrade to Zuma’s once-humble home in the village of Nkandla, also includes an Astroturf sports fields and tennis courts, a gym, and also a state-of-the art security systems, including fingerprint-controlled access pads.
The paper went on to reveal that nearby roads have benefited from a further £40 million of improvements. And that when African journalists revealed the astronomical cost of the work, Zuma’s ministers turned on the whistle-blowers, saying that revealing the details of ‘top secret’ documents was illegal. The Daily Mail wrote that the originally cost of the project, which began two years ago, was put at £500,000, but it has since skyrocketed. South African taxpayers are footing most of the bill, although Zuma, a polygamist with four wives and at least 20 children, is said to be contributing £700,000 of his own money, which according to the paper, is a stretch on Zuma’s annual £185,000 salary.
The Daily Mail went further to state that President Zuma also receives a controversial £1.2million in ‘spousal support’ for his wives, despite recently calling on fellow politicians to tighten their belts. And that he pays only a peppercorn rent of £560 on the tribally owned plot in the Zululand hills where his mansion sits.. According to the paper, Zuma has named his residence a ‘national key point’ , which is a status invented by the previous paranoid apartheid government, and means it is entitled to security measures ‘in the interests of the nation’.
Zuma’s reckless management of his personal affairs has come under scrutiny on several occasion, and it seems he is keen on living life to the fullest, even if it means living large at the expense of the suffering masses. South Africans need to do some soul-searching and ask themselves whether Zuma is really fit for purpose, as most of what is wrong with South African society starts from the very top of decision making in government, and Zuma seems to hold the fort for now.
© 2012, Ahmed M Kamara. All rights reserved. – The views expressed here are purely those of the author and not necessarily those of the publishers. – Newstime Africa content cannot be reproduced in any form – electronic or print – without prior consent of the Publishers. Copyright infringement will be pursued and perpetrators prosecuted.
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