‘We have taps in our yards, thanks to Zuma’ – Nkandla resident

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Nkandla – It was business as usual in the small town of Nkandla on Thursday morning – about 25km from the home of Jacob Zuma – who resigned as president less than 24 hours earlier.

Some people in the town were doing grocery shopping while others went about their work in places such as the town’s municipal offices.

Primary and high schools in the area were also functioning normally, seemingly not affected by Zuma’s late-night resignation.

However, closer to Zuma’s controversial homestead, which cost the state more than R200m, neighbours expressed sadness over the news that Msholozi (Zuma’s clan name) had stepped down.

Zuma’s neighbour, 53, who spoke to News24 on condition of anonymity, said she only heard the news that he had resigned on Thursday morning. She said Zuma had put their small town on the map.

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“There’s a lot that has happened here in terms of development since he became the president of the country. Our town has developed a lot and there are still projects which are still under construction,” she said.

Another nearby neighbour said they now had taps in their yards, “thanks to Zuma”.

“When you’re in power, you will have people who love you and those who hate you. The name Nkandla is known worldwide because of him,” the 62-year-old said.

There was not much movement inside Zuma’s multi-million-rand home, but there was a small media contingent gathered outside the main gate.

A handful of ANC members, clad in ANC T-shirts bearing his face, demonstrated outside the private home.

The group of about 40 people, mainly women, belonged to the ANC’s Msholozi branch in KwaNxamalala village in Nkandla. The branch was named after Zuma.

The group told News24 that they were surprised by the national executive committee’s decision to recall Zuma as well as his decision to resign.

They sang pro-Zuma songs, including “Wenzeni uZuma,” loosely translated as “What has Zuma done?”

Sibongiseni Bhengu, who spoke on their behalf, said they hoped that Zuma knew what he was doing when he resigned.

“We were not expecting him to resign yesterday (Wednesday) because his term as the president of the country had not ended yet,” he said.

He added that, as much as they welcomed the decision by the NEC to recall Zuma, they still wanted to know the reasons why.

“We, as the community of this area and members of the ANC in particular, we welcome the decision taken by the party’s NEC to recall him.

“We hope that they thought thoroughly about the decision they took as their decision is final and there’s no member who can challenge it,” he said.

Bhengu said they hoped that the NEC would one day visit them to tell them the reasons behind Zuma’s recall.

“We think there was an element of unfairness for his recall although we support the NEC’s decision.

“We still hope that the higher structures of the ANC would come to us and explain why they asked him to resign while we, the voters, have not been given tangible reasons for his recall,” he said.

Bhengu said the ANC should have given his neighbour a chance to finish his term of office.

“He would have officially handed over the reins to the new president of the country after the 2019 elections,” he said.

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