Editorial: Some key points

2262807 Jacoline Prinsloo

Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj has weighed in on the Nkandla bond saga with the mix of bluster, evasiveness and arrogant belligerence that we have come to expect from him.

Style notwithstanding, Maharaj has blown up so much dust, spewed forth so many red herrings, it is hard to remember what the point was in the first place. It was not (though City Press may – or may not – have erred in suggesting this was the case) whether President Jacob Zuma holds a bond on the fantastically overblown Nkandla compound.

Nor is it whether or not he personally ordered every structure built, nor even whether he, imperially, instructed Public Works to spend R258 million on furbishments and refurbishments to his personal Xanadu.

To be sure there is some passing interest in sleuthing out whether or not a bond was indeed registered against the Nkandla development, and, if so, who is paying it, how much is outstanding, and – if it was not First National Bank that granted the bond – which bank did.

But at the end of the day – though the question of whether Zuma lied to Parliament is not – the question of the bond is all but irrelevant in the wider scheme of things. It is the other R257.1m that has not been adequately or convincingly accounted for.

Sure we have heard that these expenditures are connected to the declared status of the Nkandla compound as a national key point (no comment) and we have heard that it was the Department of Public Works that decided to pump the development funding into the immediate environs of the presidential pondok.

What we have not heard is just why the president – as head of state – apparently played no part in designating his private home a national key point in addition to the official residences he could fall back on in times of crisis. Nor have we heard how it was that he, as a householder was apparently not associated with the building of a helipad on the front lawn, an underground bunker where perhaps he planned a wine cellar, among other home improvements of which he claims innocence.

We are also waiting to hear who (bond notwithstanding) will be the owner of the national key point of Nkandla if, and when, Zuma relinquishes power.


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