‘Zumaville’ next Madonsela probe

FIRST Nkandla, now Zumaville. The public protector’s office has confirmed it will investigate the R2-billion town in President Jacob Zuma’s backyard. It is named the Umlalazi- Nkandla Smart Growth Centre and is touted as South Africa’s first “post-apartheid” town built only by African people.

Earlier this month, it was reported that the town would go ahead as planned.

According to the Sunday Times report, Zuma held a meeting with businessmen in the area to confirm that challenges that had derailed the KwaZulu-Natal town were expected to be resolved.

But when news of the place – nicknamed Zumaville – surfaced, Afriforum lodged a complaint with Advocate Thuli Madonsela’s office in 2012.

“As the president, as the head of the executive branch of government, he gave instructions that this should be done,” Afriforum deputy chief executive Ernst Roets said.

“But then he is also the chairman of Masibambisane [Development Initiative], the company that will be involved in it.

“He is also a beneficiary in his personal capacity because this will improve the value of his own house.”

This week Madonsela’s spokesman, Kgalalelo Masibi, said: “The public protector is investigating the complaint.

“A preliminary investigation was concluded and the public protector has decided to conduct a full investigation.”

While it is not clear what exactly Madonsela will be investigating, the complaint involves allegations of the abuse of power and misuse of public funds.

The latest investigation by Madonsela comes as security cluster ministers are gearing up to have her findings on Nkandla set aside in court.

Last week, Madonsela said the cluster’s decision was premature. “The architecture of our constitutional democracy … requires that the matter be debated in parliament first,” she said. “Should there be no common understanding, the matter can be taken to court.” – Nashira Davids

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