Pretoria - Families neighbouring President Jacob Zuma's private Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal were moved because they posed a security threat, Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi said on Thursday.
It was up to his department to implement the security recommendations of the security cluster of ministers, he told journalists in Pretoria.
“The neighbouring families had to be relocated as they were identified as a security risk to have them within the high-security zone,” he said at the release of a task team report into the over R206 million upgrade to Zuma's home.
“A feature known as the chicken run was constructed within the cattle kraal. It was created as a replacement to a number of building block structures that were scattered around some of the main dwellings which were obstructions and potential hiding areas for intruders.”
Nxesi said allegations that Zuma used state resources to build and upgrade the homestead were unfounded.
“As it will be shown in the findings of the task team report, no state funds were used to build the president's private residence,” he said.
“The requirement to provide security for presidents, both sitting and retired, remains the responsibility of government. The Ministerial Handbook did not adequately address security around the head of state, deputy president and their families.”
Regarding the controversial tuck shop, among other things, Nxesi said the state was duty-bound to construct it, after relocating it.
“The tuck shop existed long before the president was inaugurated and was relocated within the three hectare land of the president.
“Due to the security risk posed by the movement of people [customers], the tuck shop had to be relocated from within the premises and erected at the perimeter of the premises,” said Nxesi. - Sapa