God is in the details…

Nkandla – a comment by JHB_BRN_&_RZD

After the fall of apartheid, Jacob Zuma came back from exile and became MEC for Economic Affairs and Tourism in KwaZulu-Natal. He decided to build a house. At Nkandla. That he couldn’t afford. This wasn’t a problem, though. Other people could afford it. The initial payments were made in 2000, by Nora Fakude-Nkuna, an Mpumalanga businesswoman. Other payments were made by Vivian Reddy and Schabir Shaik. Loans, apparently. Loans that Zuma simply had no reasonable prospect of repaying. At least not in cash money.

  1. Nkandla sits at the heart of the questions surrounding the arms deal.

Remember Shaik? Sick guy? Keen golfer? He went to jail for corruption. One of the things that got him sent off for his brief stay in some of our nation’s finest hospitals was the deal he made in securing an irregular annual R500 000 payment for Zuma. The first payment of this amount was for R250 000. It went towards Nkandla.

  1. Two hundred million? Hah!

Nkandla is a quiet little place. It has a rather sparsely spread population of about 115000 people. That’s fewer than live in Diepsloot. They don’t have much. But they do have a new road. A nice, shiny R582 000 000 road. That happens to go right past the President’s shiny new home.

That might seem a little excessive for a poor and sparsely populated area, but it’s not. You see, a town is being planned. A shiny new town just round the corner from Zuma’s shiny new home. A town that is set to cost R2 billion.

  1. Nkandla sits at the heart of the ANC’s obsession with secrecy.

It is pretty damn hard to justify what’s going on that little hill in the middle of nowhere. Wouldn’t it be easier not to have to justify anything at all? So out came that dusty old apartheid law, The National Key Points Act. No, we aren’t going to answer any questions about the vast amounts of taxpayers’ money that we’re pouring into the back end of nowhere. We’d love to, but we can’t. It’s a matter of national security.

That must have been nice, to be able to deftly sidestep all those ugly questions the press kept asking. I wouldn’t be surprised if it got the government thinking about other ways to use the law to control the media.

  1. The Public Protector is about to get her butt kicked. Because of Nkandla.

I like Thuli Madonsela. She seems to me to be a woman of great integrity and very little fear. It’s going to be sad to see her go. And go she will.

Do not ever underestimate our President. The man is a frighteningly good player of power games. If you ever doubt this, draw yourself up a list of those who have crossed him or stood in his way, and look at where they are now. You can start with Mbeki and Malema and work your way down to Vusi Pikoli.

And now, through no fault of her own, Thuli Madonsela has stood in his way. And the security cluster are starting to loosen up their shoulders and strap on their brass knuckles. I’m going to miss her.

So what does all of this mean for us ordinary citizens? A great deal. It means that those who lead us can no longer look us in the eye. They aren’t the good guys anymore. They aren’t building a nation. They’re building a house on a hill near Eshowe. And it’s making them look like a joke.

It all boils down to a single, simple, question; what about Nkandla?

No money to pay health department bills? what about Nkandla?

Cutting up government credit cards and eliminating wasteful expenditure? what about Nkandla?

Taking a stand against corruption? But what about Nkandla?

No money to build new schools? But what about Nkandla?

E-tolls needed to pay for roads? But what about Nkandla?

And the answer to that question? There simply isn’t one. Good people, with the best interests of their country at heart, have to look down at their feet and shrug their shoulders, and part with a little bit of what made them good. Bad people, pushed into a corner by the lack of an answer, set their jaws and start shouting words like racist and counter revolutionary in the hope that the dust will obscure the million Rand cattle kraal and the Astroturf soccer pitch.

So what should we do? I don’t know. But here’s my suggestion. Build it. Get it done. It’s been thirteen years, and cost us vastly more than mere money. Call in the army and set them to work digging foundations and painting walls. Shut down the hospitals and the schools and the police and pour all of our taxes into the dust of Nkandla until that one, single man looks up at it one day and says It’s done now. I have taken enough.

Then we can issue a blanket pardon for every dodgy deed ever done in the name of Nkandla. We can pile up all the records on a great big pyre and burn them. Every dodgy loan agreement, every classified document, every inflated tender. Just burn them. Purify that hill with fire.

And then we can go back to building a nation again. The good people in our government will be able to look us in the eye again, and the bad ones can stop throwing stones. We can focus on building schools and not throwing books into rivers. We can corner corrupt politicians and bring them to justice without them pointing at Nkandla and saying What about that? We can give our leaders their soul back.

Until our President decides Nkandla needs a high security entertainment centre. Then it’s back to square-one again


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