24 April 2014

South Africa: Vociferous Wednesdays - Nkandla Is Here to Stay

Photo: G Stolley/SAPA
President Jacob Zuma's residence in Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal (file photo).


Today the Parliamentary ad-hoc committee set up to look into the Public Protector's report on Nkandla will meet for the first time. At a panel discussion on Wednesday night in Cape Town, two weeks before elections, the enhancements to Zuma's private residence were on the menu too. The question on everyone's minds seemed to be: what can ordinary citizens do to ensure a repeat of the Nkandla debacle doesn't take place?

The issue of whether the costly upgrades to Nkandla will have an impact on the ANC's performance at the polls this year is one that has been endlessly debated. An Ipsos Markinor poll in January suggested that it might, revealing that Nkandla was "among some of the reasons the ANC is growing unpopular among voters".

But the results of a Sunday Times-commissioned poll revealed last weekend painted a different picture. This suggested that Madonsela's report "had only a marginally negative effect on the ANC's support by the beginning of April", down from 66,1% the month before to 65,5%.

At a discussion convened by the Daily Maverick, Open Society Foundation and the Cape Town's Book Lounge on Wednesday, however, it was clear from the responses of the...

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