Durban - President Jacob Zuma would not pay for the upgrades to his Nkandla home, and those who said he must pay were living in dreamland, the ANC Youth League said on Monday.
Last month the Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, found that Zuma and his family had unduly benefited from the R246 million upgrades to his home and that he should therefore pay a percentage of the bill. But the league’s national co-ordinator, Magasela Mzobe, said Zuma would “not pay anything today, tomorrow or any day”.
Zuma had not asked for any of the upgrades to his private residence and therefore there was no reason why he should pay or be held liable, said Mzobe.
“President Zuma would never have asked for a swimming pool. He is too busy running the country to have any time for swimming. If they have a problem they can come and take the swimming pool away,” he said.
The youth leader lambasted the opposition parties for suggesting that the ANC under Zuma’s leadership was more corrupt. Mzobe said that the opposition had merely run out of things to say, adding that the president was not going anywhere as he would remain state president until 2019 and ANC president until the end of his term in 2017.
Mzobe was one of the ANC leaders who addressed the party’s Siyavota (We are going to vote) rally in Murchison, Port Shepstone, on the South Coast.
The ANC’s Siyavota campaign, launched in KwaZulu-Natal on Sunday, is seen as the ANC’s response to the “Sidikiwe! Vukani! (We’re fed up! Wake up!) Vote No” campaign led by former ANC ministers Ronnie Kasrils and Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge.
The “Sidikiwe! Vukani!” campaign seeks to encourage voters to either spoil their ballots or to vote for the smaller parties in protest against the ANC.
But the youth league said the two leaders of the campaign were motivated by their hatred for Zuma.
“We all know that Uncle Ronnie has never liked Zuma; he was among those who paid a young woman to accuse president Zuma of rape. So this (campaign) is the continuation of that anger. Madlala-Routledge is bitter because she wanted to be appointed health minister by President Jacob Zuma after Polokwane.”
ANC provincial chairman Senzo Mchunu also hit out at Kasrils and Madlala-Routledge, saying he believed the two were on their way out of the ANC.
“We suspect that they have their allegiances somewhere else because now they are speaking with forked tongues. We want to say to hell with them, to hell with the no-vote campaign and to hell with the campaign against the ANC,” said Mchunu.
Contacted for comment on Monday, Madlala-Routledge said instead of individuals, the ANC should be dealing with the issues that had been raised as part of the “Sidikiwe! Vukani!” campaign.
She was surprised that she and Kasrils were being singled out by the ANC when there were others behind the campaign.
“The ANC should just deal with the issues we raised which are the deterioration in its handling of issues of governance and how over the years, and not just during the Zuma years, the ANC has shifted to the right.
“This is not the ANC we joined and voted for in 1994.”
She rejected suggestions that she was bitter for not being appointed health minister, saying she had never wanted the post.
Madlala-Routledge said she did not know where the rumour stemmed from, adding that she had been approached to advise on who would make the best health minister.
Asked if she was ready to join another party, she said she was not loyal to the name ANC, but was “loyal to that which Tambo and Chris Hani stood for”.
“So if a party with the same values comes up, yes, I will look at that party with interest. Right now I don’t see such a party.”