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Nkandla: locals could have benefitted

Pretoria - Some upgrades at President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla homestead could have been done in a manner that benefited the broader community, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's report on the matter found.

“The failure to explore more economic and community-inclusive options to accommodate the discretional security-related needs constitutes improper conduct and maladministration,” says the report, released on Wednesday.

President Jacob Zuma's home in Nkandla. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo. Credit: Independent Newspapers

Projects such as helipads and the private clinic - the role of which could have been fulfilled by a mobile clinic - could have beefed up capacity at the local medical facility.

In the report, titled “Secure in comfort”, Madonsela says the construction of the permanent, expensive one-roomed police staff quarters could have been located at a centralised police station for the community.

Zuma's private Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal has been at the centre of controversy after it emerged that the public works department had approved upgrades of more than R206 million.

Madonsela has been criticised by the African National Congress for her handling of the probe.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe has said that the release of the report close to May 7 would indicate an intention to “muddy the waters in the election campaign”.

Madonsela previously dismissed claims that her office would time the release of her final report with the aim of influencing the elections.

On Sunday, Mantashe said the party did not have any expectations from the Nkandla report.

He called it a “political report”, saying the ANC would treat it that way.

In an eNCA interview in February, Zuma disputed that more than R206m had been spent, saying the security upgrades cost around R50m.

Zuma also told the news channel he would not resign.

Sapa

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