President Jacob Zuma addressed the nation on Friday to apologise for violating the Constitution by not paying the Nkandla money as recommended by the public protector. The ANC has since welcomed Zuma’s apology, although a National Working Committee meeting will be open for NEC members to discuss Zuma’s future. His apology has been met with mixed reception, but most people are unimpressed, as QINISO MBILI found out.
Nozipho Ntshangase, 21, student, Durban
I did not buy the apology. It felt very empty and I feel like Zuma has too much power now. He does not care what we think as a nation. I used to like him, even after the public protector’s findings but now I feel this is just too much. He needs to do the honourable thing and step down. This will definitely affect the elections; it has affected my voting decision. If the president can act unethically and be not held accountable, then that means no one else will feel the need to be ethical. He is setting a bad precedent.
Sabelo Ngwane, 26, self-employed, Durban
I am amazed that everyone is surprised over all this. I don’t think Zuma will ever step down. This Nkandla issue has been talked about for well over 5 or 6 years now, nothing has really happened. If something was to happen, it would have happened a long time ago now. Zuma and his party are bigger than us, we just need to hold on until his term ends. The other problematic thing is that ANC will continue to rule this country, all we can hope for is a better ANC because it is definitely not the same one that rescued us from apartheid.
Thobile Mbeje, 32, hawker, Mayville
I think people should stop frustrating themselves about this Nkandla issue. Many wrong things are going on in this country that also deserve attention. I am tired of hearing about Nkandla now because this thing should have been very simple. If he owes the money, he should pay it or be arrested; just like how it would happen to anyone else. These many findings that keep happening are just a waste of time and the powers that be are not serious about this Nkandla issue. If they were, something would have happened by now.
Nhlanhla Zulu, 22, artist, Durban
Nkandla is a scapegoat for all the bigger injustices that are happening in this country. I feel that it is something designed to divert the public’s attention away from things that really matter. There are people that exploit this country behind the scenes far more than Zuma does, but everyone is just overly obsessed with Nkandla. For instance, look at the Guptagate now. Just a few days ago, everyone was gaga over the Guptas controlling the state. But now that Nkandla has been brought up again, attention has been moved away from the Guptas and they’re going to continue doing whatever it is they were doing.
Thandeka Mlotsa, 25, student, Durban
At least he apologised; he could have just kept quiet. Politics is very complex, it is not that easy for him to just resign. He is both president of the country and the head of the ANC. I also believe he is not solely responsible for Nkandla; a whole lot of other people benefitted from the upgrades including ministers and contractors. If he stepped down it would mean that he accepts full responsibility. Also, if he steps down, it means that he will no longer be obliged to pay back the Nkandla money. I think it is easier to hold him accountable while he is president because if he steps down then he will not be as obliged to pay back the money.
Voxes have been edited for brevity and clarity