Does the Minister of Police take the South African public for idiots? Clearly he does. In attempting to justify the indefensible, he has clearly treated the rest of us as imbeciles.
Ultimately the sordid Nkandlagate saga will define Zuma’s legacy much like Watergate defined Tricky Dicky Nixon’s and Monica underscored Clinton’s term as president.
Mampara – Afrikaans for supreme idiot, an imbecile. Its onomatopoeic property especially when pronounced gutturally engenders it with more potency than the English idiot; hence my usage.
Let us recapitulate for those that have been in a coma for the past 5 years. Zuma’s personal homestead is located in the backwoods of KwaZulu Natal, a nondescript quintessential African village called Nkandla. This fact would have remained in obscurity and a footnote to history had it not been that this private residence required a security upgrade.
Main picture: The Nkandla “compound” from MyBroadband
So far so good.
For the corrupt officials at the Public Works Department, tenderpreneurs and even Zuma’s private architect, their eyes glistened with dollar signs. This project would rapidly spiral into the goose that would lay the golden egg for them all including Mr Zuma.
In tandem a realisation soon dawned that a mere security upgrade would generate insufficient funds for all the snouts in the feeding trough. For various tenuous and tendentious reasons, an underground nuclear proof shelters was included in spite of the fact that his main – read official – residences were not required to have such protection.
Then to strain incredulity further, these security measures transmogrified into a visitor’s centre, an amphitheatre, a swimming pool, a Zulu cattle kraal and a chicken run. In total all of these modifications, extensions and upgrades would cost the South African taxpayer R250million in a country where the median monthly wage is R5 000 and a palatial house R5m.
In spite of a comprehensive cogent report by the Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela highlighting the fact that the bulk of upgrades were devoid of any connection with security and demanding that the President refund the money, Jacob Zuma made a “hospital pass.” He appointed Nathi Nhleko to determine the amount if any, that he, Mr Zuma, should have to repay for non-security upgrades.
What was Mr Nhleko’s strategy?
Go for broke.
Vigorously defending the requirement for a swimming pool as constituting a Fire Pool to be used in an emergency as the “huts” in the compound have thatch roofs, he similarly belaboured the point on the need for a cattle kraal and hen house.
During his extensive presentation in Parliament, Mr Nhleko himself at some points appeared to be embarrassed at the frivolous defences that he was erecting as a justification.
Moreover in order to underline the seriousness of the security issue, the Minister of Police then announced that the “security upgrades” for incomplete.
In this regard, is Mr Nhleko referring to the fact that a long stretch of the security fence has fallen down some time ago and has not been repaired?
More likely, in my humble opinion, is that Nathi is referring to the need to build a tennis and a squash court. Furthermore, high on his list of missing features, is a nuclear proof underground snooker room.
Jacob Zuma might only have five years of education but he is astute. Nathi Nhleko has compromised his integrity for his boss’ sake. But what he has also done, is to permit additional non-security upgrades to be made all under the aegis of security.
For protecting your boss Nathi, you deserve a medal but for your personal morality, believability and trustworthiness to do the right thing, you are totally compromised and thus do not deserve the position as Minister of Police.
On second thoughts, Nathi, I will unreservedly forgive you if you can provide me with some excuses when I am next in trouble. But please don’t make them so purile.