THE two state-of-the-art AstroTurf soccer pitches and a tennis court that complement President Jacob Zuma’s upgraded Nkandla homestead were constructed by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Sport and Recreation at a cost of R4.2 million, it emerged yesterday.
A further R650 000 had come from the South African Breweries (SAB), the department said.
The pitches and a tennis court, just a stone’s throw from Zuma’s home – controversially upgraded to the tune of more than R200m – had been assumed to be part of the upgrade undertaken by the Department of Public Works.
The green soccer fields are highly visible when approaching the Zuma homestead from Kranskop.
The pitches are emblazoned with KwaZulu-Natal Department of Sport and Recreation slogans urging young people to stay off booze. They are separated by a fence from 10 security cottages built outside Zuma’s home.
A spokesman for the department, Mluleki Mntungwa, said: “Initially, the site that was identified for the construction of the project was Lindela, which is approximately 7km from the president’s house. But the surveyor deemed the site not suitable for the construction of this project. The community, led by a local inkosi, identified the current site. The construction began in 2011.”
Mntungwa said the project had been initiated after his department had received a request from local people.
“Once completed it is going to be utilised by the entire community,” he said, adding that the department had entered into a partnership with SAB to construct the facilities.
“Other facilities of this nature have been constructed in uMbumbulu (completed), KwaNxamalala (completed, waiting for second phase) and Engome in Umvoti (completed),” he said.
Mntungwa said the project consisted of two phases, the first being earthworks, fencing and drainage.
“We are now on phase two. Once completed, the project will be handed over to the municipality. A service agreement has been signed with the municipality for the maintenance of the infrastructure.”
Early this year, Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi said the government had spent R206m in public funds on security and operational requirements at Zuma’s home, including R71m on security.