Govt to release ‘secret’ Nkandla report

2013-12-05 13:06

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Cabinet has decided to declassify and publish a government task team report, which cleared President Jacob Zuma of any involvement in the R208 million upgrades to his Nkandla home, Education Minister Angie Motshekga has said.

Motshekga made the announcement today during a media briefing of Cabinet in Pretoria.

The security cluster will hold a press conference next Tuesday to address the public regarding the decision to release the report in full.

Motshekga also said Cabinet did not discuss the leaked provisional report of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s investigation into Nkandla, because “it was not there before us”.

Cabinet also did not discuss the controversial go-live of e-tolling on Gauteng’s roads this week, said Motshekga.

The secrecy over the task team report, which has been kept under wraps for months, prompted the DA to approach the Western Cape High Court in a bid to force government to hand over the report in full after Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi, whose department headed the task team probe, classified it as “secret”.

The DA had argued that government should hand over the report in terms of the Public Access to Information Act.

Motshekga said it was Nxesi who had rallied Cabinet to declassify the report and release it publicly.

“Cabinet deliberated on the presentation by the minister of public works on the inter-ministerial task team report on the security upgrades to the President’s Nkandla residence. “Cabinet endorsed the recommendations and directed that the report be released to the public,” said Motshekga.

Cabinet’s security cluster had last month released redacted pieces of the report through Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence, which endorsed the report.

The shortened report claimed that no state funds were used in the construction of Zuma’s homes and blamed the escalating construction costs on officials.

It also revealed that there were two separate pieces of land in Nkandla, one belonging to Zuma and the other belongs to the state.

Motshekga said security cluster ministers wanted to ensure that all references to Zuma’s security, which may compromise his safety, will be removed from the report prior to it being made public on Tuesday.

According to the report, 24% of the R208 million spent on Nkandla went towards security costs for the private residence, 52% of the budget was spent on infrastructure costs related to the “government hub”, while the other 24% was spent on consultancy fees.

The surprise twist – the planned release of the report – comes after Nxesi announced that the task team had found serious financial irregularities related to the construction work at Nkandla but would not release the report because it could compromise Zuma’s security.

Among a litany of reasons the report mentioned to justify the spending, including the fear of crime, political violence, rapes, earthquakes and the safety to Zuma’s family, the report also stated there were no guidelines as to how much government could spend when upgrading a president’s home security.

Read: 15 reasons Zuma is unsafe in Nkandla

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