South African netizens have expressed shock and anger following revelations that the 20 million US dollars of taxpayers’ money was used to upgrade the country's president Jacob Zuma's private house in Nkandla, a town in KwaZulu Natal. The house has, among other facilities, a bunker, a swimming pool, a helipad, an amphitheater, a tuck shop, a tennis court, and a football pitch.
Cabinet ministers on 21 November, 2013 said anyone who published images or footage of the estate would face arrest because they would be breaching the National Key Points Act. However, South Africa's media defied the ban, with the Times newspaper publishing the photos with the headline “So, arrest us.”
Apart from media houses publishing the photos and Twitter users sharing them widely, some Facebook users such as Jocelyn Newmarch are using them as a Facebook cover photo.
Constitutional law expert and blogger Pierre de Vos pointed out on the blog Constitutionally Speaking that there are no laws making it unlawful to publish photos of Zuma's residence:
Minister of state security Siyabonga Cwele today warned that the publication of pictures of Nkandla is unlawful. This is rubbish. There is absolutely nothing in the (unconstitutional) National Key Points Act that prohibits the publication of pictures of a building declared a National Key Point. Otherwise the publication of all pictures of the SABC building would also be unlawful.
Commenting on Pierre's post, one reader, Jablet, wrote:
It [the photo] is now my FB cover image. […] If Min Cwele's [Minister of State Security is Siyabonga Cwele] genius security measures are exposed by an aerial photograph of the grounds, there are probably bigger issues he should be worrying about.
Another reader, Bikoko, expressed his “disappointment” and urged Facebook users to use panoramic view of the house as Facebook background:
I'm disappointed that the above graphic does not show the following:
- The cattle culvert;
- The tuck shop [Zuma's first wife runs a tuck shop at the residence];
- And (leaving the best 'til last) the Chicken Roosting Area. Apparently, it's like an amphitheatre, and I imagine it will double up as such when there is a Chicken Roasting Event – this could be quite soon, since the elections are coming up and the locals need to be bribed to vote for their Overlord (I've heard they're not all that keen on him)…
Like Janet, I will be using a panoramic view of nSkandla as my Facebook background. I urge all SA Facebookers to do the same – show Zuma that we piss on his secrecy and his Security Nut Cluster! It isn't as effective as refusing to pay tax, but it's a start.
Johan Kruger responded to Bikoko's concerns:
Can't show those! They have security cows and highly security trained ninja chickens. The ‘tuck shop’ is actually a majic phone booth where security potions are handed out.
Bomi Shinga posted the photo below of Zuma's impoverished neighbors on her Facebook page with the following message:
A small happy family living in #Nkandla. Please note that this is not a photo of #Zuma's house. Can't help if it's on the background
On Twitter, investment professional Sifiso Skenjana (@KenjieBoi007) wrote:
I couldn't help but notice that there is no swimming pool in the Nkandla Palace…
— Sifiso Skenjana (@KenjieBoi007) November 25, 2013
South African entrepreneur OBED MTOMBENI (@MTOMBENIOBED) joked:
I know that someone in kzn [KwaZulu Natal] already named his/her kid “Nkandla”
— OBED MTOMBENI (@MTOMBENIOBED) November 25, 2013
Sipho Mthiya (@S1pho) remarked:
I guess our president is a shining example of what “charity begins at home” mean. Have you seen that place? #Nkandla
— Sipho Mthiya (@S1pho) November 25, 2013
The cartoon below by Dr. Jack & Curtis tried to humorously connect Zuma's house debate to the the controversial electronic tolling system:
Cindy V (@cindos) revealed her Christmas wish:
All I want for Christmas is a place to rest my weary body. Something modest like Nkandla.
— Cindy V (@cindos) November 25, 2013
In a reference to government claim that the house is a national key point, Flying Dutchman (@rulanda76) said:
#Nkandla I have considered my car as a national keypoint. No speed trap is now allowed to take pictures !
— Flying Dutchman (@rulanda76) November 25, 2013
Crime Watch KZN (@CrimeWatchKZN) shared a photo of “security feature” at the house with a warning:
Zoomed in Picture of a Security Feature at Nkandla. Warning! Distribute at your own Risk! pic.twitter.com/0EFf5ItgqG
— Crime Watch KZN (@CrimeWatchKZN) November 25, 2013
Sentletse (@Sentletse) wondered who buys from Zuma's wife tuck shop as the photos show no immediate neighbors:
From this satellite image, Jacob has no immediate neighbours in Nkandla. Who buys from the tuckshop? pic.twitter.com/RyjTG3MJK9
— Sentletse (@Sentletse) November 25, 2013