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Nkandla not a ‘major discussion’ point at lekgotla: Mantashe

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The ANC’s three-day lekgotla held in Pretoria at the weekend did not go into detailed discussions about President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla home following an in loco inspection by Parliament’s ad hoc committee, secretary general Gwede Mantashe said on Monday.

“It was not an issue for major discussion in the lekgotla,” he told reporters in Johannesburg,

“One of the things we are trying to discipline ourselves on is that when the institutional processes [are happening], let’s give space for those institutional processes to do what they should do. If we don’t, we are going to steam ahead and run ahead of processes.”

Following a visit by the ad hoc committee last week, its chairperson Cedric Frolick said the Nkandla homestead was not worth the price tag. He told reporters that the department of public works had a lot of explaining to do.

Frolick said the committee had concluded its work in KwaZulu-Natal and would be returning to Cape Town to meet with the minister of public works and the minister of police.

The media was given an official tour of Nkandla on Sunday, where they were able to see security features on the premises.

Mantashe said he was happy that the media were taken on a proper tour so that journalists could see the separation between the homestead and developments around it, such as the clinic and houses for the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) and SA Police Service (SAPS).

“If your defence force and police develop a village there for their personal [use]… you can’t just club that into the homestead… but it is important to us to see that distinction.

“It suits those who are opposed to us to club everything together… and it costs R246m and when we saw that we threw our hands up in the air… That breakdown to me is very important,” Mantashe said.

Last month, Police Minister Nathi Nhleko told reporters in Pretoria that the biggest portion of the money spent on the security upgrades to Zuma’s home was used to build the houses, which cost R135.2m.

However, he said houses built outside the perimeter of the actual homestead for the SAPS and SANDF were not security features and should not have been lumped into the amount spent on security for the president.

Nhleko said the spending on the houses had to be followed up on. News24

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