President Jacob Zuma. Photo: Bongiwe Mchunu
President Jacob Zuma. Photo: Bongiwe Mchunu

Zuma fans offer to foot Nkandla bill

By Babalo Ndenze And Bongani Hans Time of article published Oct 10, 2014

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Durban - President Jacob Zuma has the backing of two Durban groups that have come to his defence over Nkandla.

One group, consisting of business people, believes Zuma has been “humiliated” enough and has offered to foot the bill for the Nkandla upgrades, although its members say they don’t have much money and would have to raise the funds.

The others, who are lawyers, have lodged a complaint with Parliament against Public Protector Thuli Madonsela and her report on Nkandla.

Both have written letters to Parliament, which were read out and noted during Thursday’s ad hoc committee meeting considering the various Nkandla reports, as well as Zuma’s response.

The lawyers, calling themselves “concerned lawyers and educationists for equality before the law”, said Madonsela’s report, Secure in Comfort, was flawed and full of inconsistencies.

The second letter was brought by one Vumelani Mchunu, who chairs an organisation called the “public members’ unit team”.

“We as public members’ unit team feel this issue has humiliated the president of the Republic of South Africa. We as members of the public are now putting an end to this issue by saying (that) once the public protector finalises every report that is needed, including that amount of money that they are saying the president should pay back, we as public members’ unit team, we will then take it from there, and we as the public members’ unit team we will pay that money back on behalf of President Jacob Zuma,” wrote Mchunu.

He told The Mercury that his media business, Vum-Vum Media, did not have much money, although he was prepared to work tirelessly to raise money to pay for whatever Zuma owed for Nkandla.

“My business is not worth much, but personally I am worth gold because of my heart,” he said.

The 33-year-old said the team had 10 board members, but he declined to name them without their permission. He said he was the chairman.

Members of the team included business people, all in their thirties, and popular musicians. He said the team was started in 2000 as an NGO.

On Thursday night, the members had a meeting to plot the way forward.

“We have successfully recruited more than 30 other business people who are interested in helping the president. We do not have money, but we will fund raise.

“We are doing this because we felt that banging desks (referring to EFF leader Julius Malema) in Parliament is not right. We decided to help the president to deal with this,” he said.

He said neither Vum-Vum nor the public members’ unit team had benefited from government tenders.

All the members had their separate businesses, and their aim was to uplift young people.

“My business (Vum-Vum) has existed for the past four years. I work with big businesses, taking pictures and videos for their functions.”

He said the team had written to Parliament, the ANC, the ANC Youth League and Zuma about their offer to help the president.

“The president has not replied. For now, only Parliament has responded.”

The group of concerned lawyers, however, focused their letter on Madonsela and her “flawed” report.

The lawyers wrote that Madonsela’s conduct “may have contributed to South Africa’s downgrade by international ratings agencies”.

“She acted in a manner that constitutes gross misconduct and incapacity. Her conduct has inevitably brought the Office of the Public Protector into disrepute.”

The group requested that Parliament take “appropriate measures” against Madonsela.

Parliamentary committee chairman Cedric Frolick said they were still busy with deliberations and, although such letters could be sent to Parliament, “we put it on record that it is there.

“It cannot have any meaningful bearing on the work of this committee”, said Frolick.

He said the lawyers’ letter would have to be referred to the justice portfolio committee.

Political Bureau and The Mercury

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