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‘He’s the president, he deserves this house’

Durban - While millions of South Africans were glued to television sets on Wednesday as Public Protector Thuli Madonsela released her report on President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead, there was not much interest in his home town.

Nkandla resident Sthandiwe Hlongwane, who was given a house by President Jacob Zuma's nemesis, Julius Malema, said she would wait for a Zulu news summary of the release of the public protector's report. Photo: Siyanda Mayeza. Credit: INLSA

Residents went about their daily routines and most people interviewed by The Mercury said they had no knowledge of a report released on the upgrade and building at their famous neighbour’s home.

Madonsela’s report found that some of the upgrades at Nkandla could have been done in a way that benefited the broader community, while the relocation of neighbours for the project was determined unlawful.

Some of Zuma’s neighbours chose to remain tight-lipped about the Madonsela report, refusing to be drawn on the matter.

“I listened for a few minutes but decided to switch it off and get on with my business… Only he and his conscience know the truth. He knows what happened. So watching it won’t help,” said one neighbour, who asked not be identified.

Sne Nzuza, 29, said she could not follow proceedings as she had to walk for two hours to get to an ANC branch meeting. She was not concerned about Madonsela’s findings.

“They should just leave him alone. He’s the president; he deserves this (house), and more actually. It’s not even that expensive,” she said. “They can go to hell.”

She vowed to continue working as an ANC volunteer, saying: “I have even lost weight campaigning for him.”

Zuma’s neighbour, Sthandiwe Hlongwane, whose home was rebuilt by EFF president Julius Malema and his team in January, said she struggled to keep up with the report on her television set.

“I'll just wait for a Zulu summary in the news later,” said the 31-year-old.

Malema was confronted by angry villagers and ANC supporters in Nkandla on January 11. They were upset about his decision to build the house for Hlongwane. She had been staying in a rundown, muddy house with her children.

Police vehicles were damaged in the mêlée that ensued.

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