R70m spent on renovating Zuma's official residences - DA

Athol Trollip says a staggering R40m was spent on Mahlambandlopfu in Pretoria

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.

It is worth noting that the figures contained in this reply cover only the structural and maintenance costs of the President's five residences. Furthermore, this is not an exhaustive list of these costs as the Presidency failed to provide some of the figures on the grounds that they were "not readily available", which raises concerns about the diligence of the Presidency in keeping accurate records of its expenditure, and the department's approach to accountability.

In a response to a parliamentary question in November last year, Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane revealed that the running costs of the five presidential homes were in excess of R5 300 000 for 2009/10, excluding the salaries of the 113 staff employed to service them.

The total cost of the running and maintenance of the President's five official homes is therefore significantly in excess of those figures provided in the most recent parliamentary reply.

The DA has submitted further questions to the Presidency to ascertain the cost of maintaining the staff complements of the various households, to enquire about anomalies in the figures contained in yesterday's reply, and to determine exactly how often the President and Deputy President have used the five official residences since they assumed office. Such unnecessary extravagance has little place in a country's where the alleviation of poverty and the provision of reliable services are its most pressing needs.

Reply to parliamentary question:


Question 3369 Written Reply 19 November 2010

3369. LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION to ask the Minister of Public Works:

With reference to the reply to question 1600 on 2 November 2010, what was the structural maintenance cost of each of the five presidential residences (names furnished) in each of the past five financial years?    Nbsp; NW4199E



Financial Year

Maintenance Expenses


No structural maintenance


R 13 973 143.00


Financial Year

Maintenance Expenses


 R 2 682 196.00


No structural Maintenance


Financial Year

Maintenance expenses


R 570,911.52


R 348, 379.20


R 479, 775.79


R 269, 207.03

2009/November 2010

R 274, 301. 96


R  1 942 575.40


The information below is only for planned maintenance services.


2005/2006 FY

2006/2007 FY

2007/2008 FY

2008/2009 FY

2009/2010 FY

1. Mahlamba-ndlopfu

R698, 284




 R 8, 897,271


2. OR Tambo

Information is not readily available.

Information is not readily available.

R4, 146, 926

The combined structural maintenance costs for both Mahlambandlopfu & OR Tambo for the year 2008 amounts to R3,790,049

R 9, 282, 663

Statement issued by Athol Trollip, MP, Democratic Alliance Parliamentary Leader, February 10 2011

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