South African leader Jacob Zuma is splashing a whopping R65-million (over 8.8 million US dollars) in expanding his rural home of Nkandla. The new homestead is expected to have a police station, a helicopter pad, and a military clinic, all at his own cost, his office said Friday.
In its statement, the Presidency said taxpayers were not paying for
the renovations. “We urge the media to leave the family alone to conduct its business, and reject any insinuation that there could be any untoward abuse of state resources by the president or his family,”
“The Zuma family planned before the elections to extend the Nkandla
residence, and this is being done at own cost. No government funding will be utilised for the construction work. This is a private matter which should be left to the family,” the statement added.
The statement said “the Presidency is fully aware of the need to separate public from private expenditure.”
“The demarcation at Nkandla is very clear, and there can be no reason to confuse the private construction work in the Zuma household and the state facilities that will be constructed outside the perimeter,” said the statement.
According to the statement the expansion will turn the presidential homestead into a sprawling precinct that will include a police station, a helicopter pad, a military clinic, a visitors’ centre, a parking lot for at least 40 vehicles, and at least three smaller houses that will serve as staff quarters.
“The security services have to construct accommodation facilities for their staff that attend to the President, erect a helipad to ensure safe landing for the Presidential helicopter and a clinic as per medical requirements” the statement added.
There is no time frame for the completion of the development.
According to information from various publications today, the architectural plans are said to include a garden that will house ancestral graves. The area is due to be cordoned off by a brick wall which will make provision for only one entrance, reports say.
The two new main houses are kidney-shaped and contain his-and-hers
bathrooms, formal living rooms, walk-in closets and a study. One house contains four bedrooms, while the smaller has three.
Double-volume ceilings will be fitted to the homes, which will sport thatched roofs, in the same style as the current homestead, which is
cordoned off by green palisade fencing.