It appears that the sun does not shine for the president of the republic of South Africa. No sooner had the dust raised by the Nkandla Scandal and the most difficult election for his African National Congress, then he is embroiled in yet another scandal involving tax payers’ funds. On Monday, his nemesis, the Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela reported that they had completed preliminary investigations into what is now referred to as the Zumaville Scandal. According to the spokesperson of the Public Protector’s office, Kgalalelo Masibi admitted that a preliminary investigation had been completed but hastened to add that this only was into whether there was a case to be answered or not.
The president, through a rural development company called Masibambisane that he co-chairs with his cousin, Sibusiso Mzobe, is in the process of building a city in rural KwaZulu Natal, the province from which he hails. This City, which the president has referred to as the first city to be built by black people since the advent of democracy in 1994 will be called Umlalazi-Nkandla Smart Growth Centre. According to the information garnered at the time, while there were private investors involved, a large chunk of the finance for the project would have to come from central government. In addition, it is believed that the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform would oversee the management of the project with reports that the initiating company, Masibambisane had run out of funds.
It is against this background that the then parliamentary leader of the Democratic Alliance, Lindiwe Mazibuko called for the Public Protector to probe the project with a view to establishing that there would be no abuse of public funds. Adding to the DA’s call a pressure group called AfriForum argued that the project was tantamount to abuse of power as Zuma would directly benefit from the project.
The Public a Protector’s office has consequently confirmed that it will be probing the project.