Presidential residences: Over R70 million spent on ensuring Zuma lives large
In a reply to a DA parliamentary question received yesterday, Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu Nkabinde revealed that more than R70 million has been spent on renovating the five presidential residences over the last five years, with almost R40 million being spent on President Jacob Zuma's Pretoria residence, Mahlambandlopfu, alone. These figures are astonishing and constitute indulgent and wasteful expenditure of the highest order. It is deeply ironic that, on a day when President Jacob Zuma is due to offer another list of sweeping promises to South Africans, he has yet again been exposed as a leader who, in the face of chronic unemployment and poor delivery, has continued to place his taste for the finer things in life over the needs of the people he was elected to serve.
A copy of the reply follows below.
President Zuma has repeatedly stated his commitment to addressing public concerns that the ANC government is "living large." Indeed, he has expressed his intention to foster a "culture of greater prudence and less extravagance; achieving greater value for money and delivering more and better services with less resources."
The figures contained in this parliamentary reply tell a very different story.
That President Zuma has sanctioned the spending of tens of millions of rands of public funds on maintaining a lifestyle of excess and luxury is a powerful illustration of the President's insincerity when making commitments to changing the ANC government's culture of wasteful spending. It also reveals a disturbing disconnection from the pressing needs of millions of South Africans. The sum spent on the refurbishment of the five presidential residences over the past five years could have built over 1200 RDP homes.