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Cape Town - Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande has been slated and mocked for suggesting the Nkandla scandal was nothing more than “white people’s lies”.
The SABC reported the cabinet minister describing articles about President Jacob Zuma and his Nkandla homestead as “white people’s lies”.
He said the reports were “lies perpetuated by white people”, according to the broadcaster.
Nzimande, speaking at the University of Zululand, praised Zuma and said it was appropriate to honour him for his contribution to peace in KwaZulu-Natal and education in the country.
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela last month found that Zuma and his family had improperly benefited from security upgrades worth R246 million at his Nkandla homestead.
DA national leader Helen Zille responded: “Since when is Thuli Madonsela white? If the ANC believes the public protector report is lies, they can take it to the courts on review.”
One of Zille’s key lieutenants, Wilmot James, said, in turn: “Not that anything remotely like this would ever have happened to Mandela but, if it did, he would have accepted responsibility, paid his taxes, apologised on camera to the nation.”
Nzimande’s political play comes after a warning by a political analyst that this would be the ANC’s strategy.
Political expert and author Richard Calland said: “The ANC appears to be in denial. Its self-delusion, in which it tries to convince itself as much as the electorate that the… report on President Jacob Zuma’s homestead is about mistakes made by government officials and private contractors, and thus is not about Zuma’s integrity or fitness for office, is as revealing as it is absurd.”
In a further statement late on Wednesday, James said of Nzimande’s allegations: “This not only undermines a chapter 9 institution – which is unconstitutional – but it is also a smack in the face of accountability and good governance.”