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IT’S BEEN such a good year for President Jacob Zuma that he probably won’t mind if Santa Claus forgets to pay him a visit this Christmas.
The year couldn’t have got off to a better start. In April, Zuma married his long-time fiancée Bongi Ngema, in a traditional ceremony at his home in Nkandla.
It was a jolly affair, with the president’s three other wives in attendance at the two-day extravaganza.
And the honeymoon isn’t over yet for the new Mrs Zuma. Renovations are under way at the couple’s multimillion-rand home in Waterkloof Ridge in Pretoria, which looks fondly over the Union Buildings.
The house, reportedly bought with the help of some of Santa’s local representatives, the Gupta family, is quite pleasant on the eye.
The walls are bright yellow and the front door is flanked by a large pair of earthenware pots.
No wonder the president visits it regularly.
According to a nosy neighbour, Zuma popped in at least 10 times during the past nine months.
But, now that there are piles of bricks and cement laying around, his visits may taper off until the place is spruced up.
Since the wedding, the upgrading of Nkandla has also come along nicely.
Thanks to another of Santa’s helpers, businessman Vivian Reddy, Zuma was able to finance the expansion of the once-modest homestead to a state that has made it the subject of much envy.
The residence includes a gym, sauna, steam rooms and playgrounds.
Even DA leader Helen Zille tried to see for herself recently what the fuss was about, but some over-protective ANC members couldn’t allow her to get too close to Zuma’s pride and joy.
Santa’s helpers have been kind to some members of Zuma’s family as well.
The homes of the president’s two brothers, Michael and Joseph, were reportedly renovated by the government as part of the Nkandla “prestige project”.
There is some quibbling about the matter – an electrical company called Voltex is moaning that it hasn’t been paid for delivering cables and other supplies to the homes of the brothers – but this will surely be explained soon to the satisfaction of everyone.
Santa’s helpers have even seen to it that a new road will be built in Nkandla which, quite coincidentally, will lead to the president’s home.
The upgrade to this road will cost more than R20 million.
How much more generous can you get?
And that’s not all. A R1.5 billion highway is being built to link Nkandla to the northern parts of KwaZulu-Natal.
The businessman behind the project prefers to keep his or her identity a secret.
That is truly remarkable. The mysterious benefactor does not want to derive any benefit from such a magnanimous intervention.
And still Santa’s helpers didn’t stop showering Zuma with gifts this year.
There are even plans in the pipeline to build a R2bn town close to the president’s village. It really takes a special kind of person to attract such goodwill and largesse.
Zuma probably won’t even bother to hang up a Christmas stocking this year.
He knows he has already received more than his fair share of gifts.