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Durban - Taxpayers were footing President Jacob Zuma’s electricity bill at his private home in Nkandla, it emerged on Tuesday in response to a parliamentary question posed by the DA.
While the Department of Public Works confirmed in a written reply that it was carrying the bill in order to “pay for aspects related to security”, the DA said the department failed to provide details on exactly how much the bills added up to.
Public Works spokesman Thami Mchunu also confirmed on Tuesday night that the department was paying the president’s bill. “The department is paying for the electricity to provide for aspects relating to security,” he said, without elaborating further.
DA Public Works spokeswoman Anchen Dreyer voiced disappointment over the reply to her parliamentary question.
“The details of how much has been spent thus far were not provided in the reply, despite it being clearly asked for.
“I will resubmit the question in the National Assembly requesting the full details,” she said.
If she still did not get the information within 10 parliamentary working days, as the rules of Parliament required, Dreyer said she would submit an application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act for all the electricity costs and related documents.
“Already South Africans have had to fork out an exorbitant R200 million to upgrade President Zuma’s private residence in Nkandla. We have been told, time and time again, that this is for his ‘security’. Yet, from cattle kraals to ‘fire pools’, we continue to learn of line items which have absolutely nothing to do with protecting the president,” she said.
Dreyer said the latest revelation was a slap in the face for so many South Africans who had yet to receive access to electricity, or who battled each month to pay their bills.
She also questioned why Zuma deserved “special treatment” at his private residence – when he already had four state-provided residences across the country.
The IFP’s national spokesman, Blessed Gwala, said: “The ANC will die a natural death without corruption. The fraud of the ANC disgusts me, more so because it is happening right under the nose of the provincial premier and the president himself. I am really not surprised and I know more is still going to come out.”
National ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu referred queries to the Department of Public Works.
“We don’t know anything about it. The right people who will respond intelligently on the matter will be the department,” he said.