President Jacob Zuma is set to hand over his Nkandla homestead to the nation rather than paying back the millions of rands that it is likely he will be found liable for following yesterday’s devastating constitutional court judgement.
Sources close to the presidency indicated that rather than paying for the non-security upgrades indicated in the public protector’s report the presidency is going to convert Nkandla into a Camp David-like presidential retreat for all future presidents.
Officials in the public works department have indicated that there would need to be significant additional upgrades to the compound in order for it to be fit for its new purpose.
In addition to moving the perimeter fence out an additional 500 m and building new homesteads for those residents who would have to be relocated the department was deciding whether to further upgrade the existing Ulundi Airport – which can only cater for aircraft smaller than a 737 – or to build a new airport closer to Nkandla to allow the president and other VIPs to fly directly into Nkandla rather than have to transfer to helicopter for the 50km trip to the retreat.
Additionally, the heliport at Nkandla will also be set for an upgrade as it is currently not suitable for helicopter’s such as those used by the US president.
A number of other additions are in the pipeline, but sources said this may take up to 104 days to be finalised. While they would not elaborate, it has though been confirmed that one of the country’s biggest retailers has submitted a pitch to upgrade an existing spaza shop within President Zuma’s homestead into a fully fledged hypermarket.
Spokesperson for the presidency Toki Tomuche added that due to the negative publicity around Nkandla they were currently fishing around for a new name with favourites at the moment including Isela, Ilixoki and Amahlaya.