Cape Town - Communications about taxpayers' money used for building work at President Jacob Zuma's private Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal could have been handled much better, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said on Saturday.
He was responding to questions at a meeting in Cape Town of the S A National Editors' Forum, where he was asked if the Nkandla controversy had damaged the image of the presidency.
“Yes, there have been negatives. Communications around the whole matter could have been handled much better.
“It has taken its toll on not only the image of the presidency, but the government and the whole country ....it has created doubt about our commitment to root out corruption,” Motlanthe said.
“But, we await the report of the Public Protector (Thuli Madonsela) on this.”
A cloud of controversy has surrounded Zuma's private homestead which received an upgrade to the value of R206 million.
The Mail&Guardian reported in November that Madonsela had found in her preliminary report that Zuma had misled Parliament and had benefited substantially from the upgrade.
An inter-ministerial task team report on the Nkandla expenditure was released in December, after it was declassified, confirming that a total of R206,420,644 was spent on the upgrade.
Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi, who initially classified the report, said at its release that allegations that Zuma had used state resources to build and upgrade the residence were unfounded. - Sapa