Zille blocked by Zuma’s supporters

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IOL pic nov5 helen zille nkandla1 Reuters Police officers block DA leader Helen Zille from walking towards President Jacob Zuma's house in Nkandla on Sunday.

Nkandla - Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille's planned inspection of the president's Nkandla residence was stopped by several hundred African National Congress supporters on Sunday.

Police refused permission for Zille to proceed along the road to President Jacob Zuma's residence out of fear for her safety.

The crowd, which eventually numbered between 800 and 1 000 supporters, blocked the road to the residence.

After holding an impromptu press conference, Zille laid a charge under the Gatherings Act against the ANC for blocking a public road during her failed attempt to visit Zuma's KwaZulu-Natal homestead.

The DA had wanted to visit Zuma's private residence, where an upgrade - reportedly costing over R200-million and funded with taxpayers' money - was in progress.

An ANC supporter was arrested for drunk and disorderly behaviour outside the police station as Zille laid the charges.

Police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said another man was arrested earlier, during a demonstration by ANC supporters, for having an unlicensed firearm after a shot was heard.

“The man was in possession of a rifle. He will be charged for discharging a firearm in public and possession of a firearm,” Naicker said.

Zille said Zuma had lost the right to call his home a private residence.

“Nkandla belongs to each and every South African who has to sacrifice the basic services they need, so that the president could turn his home into a five-star, fortressed palace.

“One day we will look at it as a monument to the fight against corruption.”

She questioned how the government could spend R248-million on Zuma's home, when it would not pay to transport the relatives of the victims of the Marikana shooting to the Farlam commission of inquiry.

Earlier, police stopped her and her entourage from approaching Zuma's homestead, in the village of KwaNxamalala, saying they wanted to prevent violence.

Zille was told she could not pass the police roadblock as there were ANC supporters on the road to Zuma's home. She said the party had permission to gather on a public road outside a school opposite Zuma's home.

Several cars carrying ANC supporters passed the police roadblock on a side road. Buses full of ANC supporters were allowed to pass on the main road.

When Zille asked officers why they were allowed to pass, she was told they would open a case against the organisers of the ANC march.

“We never intended to go inside Zuma's home, we only wanted to gather opposite his compound on a public road,” Zille said.

About 700m from where the DA group was stopped, police in riot gear prevented ANC supporters from advancing. Officers formed a human chain across the road.

Eight buses had transported ANC supporters to Zuma's residence.

Thulani Mushaba, the ANC's chairperson for the Musa Dladla region, said the ANC was not happy at Zille's visit because “she has done a lot of damage to his name”.

He said Zille had already complained and had all the figures for his residence and, therefore, there was no reason for her inspection.

“How can we hide something she has already got?” Mushaba asked.

He accused Zille of being a member of the former apartheid regime. He also accused her of failing to obtain permission from the local chief to visit the area.

He said that the local chief Muzi Zuma would open a case against Zille for not obtaining permission to enter tribal land.

Police had several armoured Nyala personnel carriers, two trucks with water canons, and a helicopter in the area. - Sapa


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