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7822 Views 13 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  ToxicBunny
Jacob Zuma's hometown village, Nkandla, is undergoing major development, largely because of its links to, and occassional hosting of, the President. Given the scale of some of the developments, I thought Nkandla deserved its own thread.
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Zuma’s home town is growing
April 23 2012 at 01:50pm
By Sipho Khumalo


The presidents homestead at KwaNxamalala in Nkandla in 2009. Photo: Bongiwe Mchunu

Sibongiseni Bhengu is under pressure. It is tough being a municipal councillor constantly harassed to speed up service delivery and development, but when your ward is home to the president of the country, that pressure is tenfold.

Bhengu’s constituency is Ward 14 in Nkandla, the home town of SA’s number one citizen.

His home in KwaNxamalala, nestled below the rolling hills of Mabengela and overlooking the Nkandla forest, is a stone’s throw away from the Zuma homestead.

Bhengu’s first problem is that the residents assume he has a direct line to the president.

“That I am a councillor to the president comes with a lot of pressure,” he says. “People have a perception that the president will just wake up in the morning and say: ‘I have decided to develop this area.’

“They want to know what is it that I have discussed with the president about development, and they expect the president to wave a magic wand and develop the ward.

“These people seem to forget that Zuma is not the president of Ward 14 and Nkandla alone, but of SA.”

The second, and bigger problem for Bhengu is dealing with people outside his ward who feel that his area is benefiting from major infrastructure developments because it is home to Zuma.

With Nkandla having mushroomed from a rural, undeveloped area a few years ago into one with several community projects and infrastructure, it is not hard to see where such perceptions come from.

Several community projects have been developed and are being consolidated around Nkandla’s Lindela Thusong Multipurpose Centre, which houses a library, post office, municipal office, Home Affairs offices, the Jacob Zuma Education Trust office and an Ithala ATM.

“It helps a lot to bring services closer to people, and the president had a hand in it coming here,” says Bhengu. The centre was built while Zuma was the deputy president.

Across from the centre is the Mamba One Stop Development Centre, built at a cost of R12.8 million by former KwaZulu-Natal Social Development MEC Meshack Radebe.

This centre, which is not used to full capacity, is meant to house a clinic and Home Affairs and Labour offices. There are social workers, an HIV/Aids NGO and community projects operating from it.

Another facility – Tulwane One Stop Development Centre – offering similar services, was built nearby by Radebe.

There were lavish functions to open both centres, attended by Zuma in the build-up to the 2009 elections. At the time, this triggered an angry reaction from the DA, which charged that public funds were being used to campaign for the ANC.

Radebe responded by saying the residents of Nkandla would not be punished by being excluded from service delivery just because Zuma happened to come from the town.

During a visit to the area, there was a hive of developmental activity. At one project, finishing touches were being put to the P55 from Eshowe to Nkandla, and the P15/2, which runs through Zuma’s home town to Kranskop and Pietermaritzburg.

This R500m road network, covering 250km, is part of a project known as the Tale of Four Cities because it links Ulundi, Empangeni/Richards Bay, Durban and Pietermaritzburg.

Part of the road from Kranskop is tarred, providing easy access for Zuma should he decide to travel straight to Nkandla from Pietermaritzburg. Bhengu says the development and tarring of the roads will shorten the journey between Nkandla and Durban. “It will also attract business opportunities into the area and help create jobs,” he says.

Kwanele Ncalane, a spokesman for the KZN Transport Department, rejects suggestions that the construction of the road has anything to do with the fact that the home of the president is on the same route.

In the past three years, thousands of homes in Nkandla have received electricity connections at a cost of R44m. Replying to a parliamentary question in March last year, Energy Minister Dipuo Peters said there would be 3 000 electricity connections in six villages in the Nkandla area.

Peters said Zuma’s village of KwaNxamalala was among those that would benefit from electrification projects budgeted for 2011/12.

She said the government would aim to make 648 connections in four other Nkandla villages. The programme would cost R12m.

A further R20m worth of connections were expected in the area during the 2012/13 financial year, but this figure would decrease to R10m in the 2013/14 financial year.

At another construction site, a huge upgrading of the water reservoir and treatment plant – built by Uthungulu district municipality for R45m – is under way.

The activity in Nkandla has caught the attention of the private sector, with the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nafcoc) announcing plans last year to build a R7m condom factory in the rural town.

Adding that this had nothing to do with Zuma’s links to the town, Nafcoc said the factory would create about 300 jobs and that 20 percent of its ownership would eventually go to the local community.

The main development in the area, however, is the consolidation of the president’s homestead, which is said to have undergone a R64m upgrade. This expansion, building on the African theme of his home, boasts six double-storey thatched rondavels for his wives.

Security has been beefed up, with the erection of a steel wall around the expanding homestead. The renovation, encroaching on the road that passes the property, has redefined the landscape of the village.

Last year, it was reported that the homestead would include a clinic, a helipad and accommodation for medical staff.

Just behind the Zuma homestead is a cluster of more than 10 stand-alone thatched houses. Still unoccupied, these are believed to be guest houses for visitors and VIPs.

Behind the guest houses is a sports ground under construction.

Beyond this stands the huge new residence of Zuma’s nephew, Khulubuse, which includes two stand-alone double-storey flats and two stand-alone houses.

Requests by Independent Newspapers to gain access were turned down because they were declared national key points. For the locals, this development boom was in no doubt thanks to Zuma and his commitment to rural development.

Earlier this year, the Jacob Zuma Foundation handed over five three-bedroomed houses to needy families around Lindela, Nkandla.

Bhengu says these were the first of several to be built by the foundation for the needy in the province.

He said Zuma used his influence to get Nelson Mandela to have Mnyakanyaka High School, next to his home, renovated by Goldfields. The school now boasts a computer laboratory.

Lennox Mabaso, a spokesman for the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, says Nkandla is one of many towns that are being given a facelift as part of the department’s small towns rehabilitation programme.

“The idea is make it attractive to investors and to cap the migration of people to urban areas.” - The Mercury
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Some earlier media reports on the massive upgrades the town is receiving, including underground bunkers(!!)...


Bunker bunker time: Zuma's lavish Nkandla upgrade


A network of underground rooms is the latest addition to President Jacob Zuma's lavish Nkandla estate. There are contradictory claims about the costs of the project. After initially refusing to comment, the department of public works said it was spending R36-million on security related construction. Government and ANC sources have put the total budget at between R69-million and R400-million.

The department did not comment on the underground accommodation.

It also appears that one of the companies contracted by the department of public works to do construction work in Nkandla, Bonelena Construction Enterprise and Projects, employs Zuma's niece. The M&G met a Bonelena manager who introduced herself as Mrs Zuma at the site. She is described by workers as the sister of high-profile nephew Khulubuse. The company declined to comment and other Zuma relatives contacted by the M&G refuse to discuss the issue.

This week the M&G visited the president's homestead and interviewed six workers on the site. They all confirmed the additions, including three sets of underground living quarters with about 10 air-conditioned rooms. Other facilities include a clinic for the president and his family, a gymnasium, 20 houses for security guards that are above ground, underground parking, a helicopter pad, playgrounds and a visitors' centre.

The public works department said it was paying for the construction of 10 houses for airforce personnel, 10 houses for SAPS personnel, a military health facility, perimeter fencing, the helipad, landscaping, bulk infrastructure and water supply, and houses for families who were relocated outside the compound.

According to architectural plans shown to the M&G in December 2009 the precinct would include a garden with ancestral graves. The area would be cordoned off by a brick wall and there would be provision for only one entrance.

The three houses were kidney-shaped and contained his-and-hers bathrooms, living rooms, walk-in closets and a study. One house had four bedrooms and another had three. The homes had double-volume ceilings and thatched roofs in the same style as the old homestead.

Zuma and his family, according to sources at Nkandla, would be able to enter the underground bunkers through a 200m-long tunnel running from under the helicopter pad to the main house. Two lifts have been installed for the president and his family.

Workers at Zuma's homestead told the M&G this week that they had been instructed to complete the project by November 15, before the president, his wives and children arrive for the Christmas holidays. During the M&G's visit a festive mood was in the air. "Our president is making us proud. Look what he has done to Nkandla," said one resident, who preferred to remain anonymous.

'Code of secrecy'
Roads leading to Zuma's homestead were being tarred this week. The provincial department of transport is sponsoring most of the multimillion-rand road construction projects. It appeared that most of the major construction work was complete, except for landscaping and paving in and around the premises.

Zuma's new precinct will be officially opened in two to three weeks' time, according to one of the construction managers. Although Bonelena boss Thandeka Nene initially denied that her company was involved with the renovations to Zuma's homestead, the company's project manager, Owen Nxumalo, confirmed that it had been contracted to do the work. But Nxumalo refused to provide more details about the project, saying he had been instructed not to talk about the matter in public.

When reached again on Thursday Nene said that she was prepared to talk, but felt uncomfortable discussing the matter telephonically. She invited the M&G to KwaZulu-Natal to discuss it.

Bonelena has a note on its website emphasising its commitment to a code of secrecy.

"All documents, material and correspondence that is handled by us will be treated as highly confidential and will never at any stage be divulged to any other party without the written consent of that particular client," states the note.

The costly renovations at Zuma's house are taking place amid concerns among opposition parties and the public about Cabinet ministers' apparent lavish lifestyles. Zuma recently came under fire when it was revealed that the government was spending almost R400-million to renovate his official residences in Pretoria and Cape Town.

The upgrades at Zuma's official residence include steam rooms, fireplaces, chandeliers, the construction of a sauna and changing facilities, revamping of a swimming pool and upgrading of security measures, including an escape route.

Presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj said Zuma was renovating his Nkandla compound "using his own money".

"Government, on the other hand, is apparently building a helipad for the military to land, medical facilities for use by military medical personnel and barracks for the SAPS protection unit. The intention is for the protectors and medical personnel to sleep in Nkandla, instead of far away in Eshowe, when on duty, or asking for accommodation from the Zuma household."

Maharaj said the department of public works would be better placed to provide details of the costs.

"We want to emphasise that the actual premises of the Zuma family are being built by the president at his own cost," said Maharaj. -- Additional reporting by Nelly Shamase
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I'm very much against Public funds being used to beef up the private household of President Zuma... he is given multiple homes bought and paid for by the taxpayer, those should be upgraded so the money will benefit future presidents as well.

In saying that, I'm not against the development of Nkandla as an area at all, IF there is an economic reason to develop the area beyond it being the home of the current president.
Disturbing and disgusting given the proverty immediately around the complex...


How Nkandla has expanded - PICS

November 25 2013 at 01:31pm
By Staff Reporter

Nkandla 2013

An aerial image of Nkandla from August 2013 (above) and a Google Earth image from 2009 (below) reveals dramatic changes.

Cape Town -

An aerial photograph released by technology website TechCentral on Monday shows the vast scale of the R208 million development at President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead.

The photo also shows part of the upgraded road to the complex, which cost R582m, as well as the land developed by the state for auxiliary services next to Zuma’s home. The new soccer field, hockey field and entertainment area are also visible.

TechCentral editor Duncan Mcleod says in an accompanying article that the image was taken by a high-altitude mapping camera.

The image, which is not yet available on online maps, is in stark contrast to the current Google Map image of the Nkandla residence which was taken in about 2009 when Zuma took office. This shows a simple cluster of buildings with a small kraal for cattle.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said the homestead had been declared a national key point in 2008, and last week a media storm errupted after he and State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele made comments that were widely interpreted as a ban on the publication of photographs of the site.
nkandla 2009

Google Earth

On Friday, the government claimed some media houses had indulged in “unbecoming reportage that deceive the public and create a negative perception” in their reporting of the ministers’ comments.

The acting chief executive of the Government Communication and Information System, Phumla Williams, said reports had “completely misconstrued” comments by Mthethwa and indicated the problem lay in media “zooming in” on security features.

“Government has no problem with the media publishing pictures of national key points, including President Zuma’s Nkandla residence, as it is part of their daily line of duty,” she said in a statement.

“However, zooming in to safety and security features of national key points is a challenge as it compromises national security. The publication of security features of President Zuma’s home directly opens access to and can obviously pose a threat and risk to the personal safety of the Head of State.”

At the weekend, Cape Argus sister title the Saturday Star published an interview in which Williams said she did not believe images freely available through Google Earth, for example, posed a security risk for Zuma.

“What has been of concern is somebody getting the pictures and then putting names to them, like this is ‘gate one’ and ‘gate two’, and showing that this is the water reservoir.

“Surely that can’t be right… it’s almost an indirect way to say to anyone who is planning a devious thing.

“I still want to see if Google Maps can zoom in to my house and show where my alarm and sensors are. I don’t think it can.”

Cape Argus
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I want to know how the "state" managed to organise land from the trust, since all that area is trust land as far as I know.
Haha, to think I have inside footage of these buildings!!....Methinks media houses might pay a pretty penny! *but business ethics prevails!*
Screw business ethics my man..

Distribute that footage... then run away because Nathi will hunt you down for making him look like an idjit.
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Haha, to think I have inside footage of these buildings!!....Methinks media houses might pay a pretty penny! *but business ethics prevails!*
Your country needs you! PM me, I'd know who to give them to (an editor of a major Sunday paper)
You not allowed to photograh it? haha. Tell that to the White House...

And the stories on the fact that the architect is himself not a security expert leave this whole thing an utter joke. I hope the report on this that certain figures are trying so hard to silence, gets to the broader public.
If you're going to spend that much money on a house, at least put a helipad and a bad ass pool/ entertainment area.

something like this

Top Billing will never feature a house like that.
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