Nhleko must decide if Nkandla is safe enough

2015-01-25 15:01

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The minister of police has to decide by February 13 if more money must be spent on further securing President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla home.

In a letter to Police Minister Nathi Nhleko, National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete instructed him to send a team of security experts to Nkandla to determine why President Zuma’s home is deemed to be “unsafe”.

In the letter, a copy of which is in City Press’ possession, Mbete writes that the “technical team” must consist of specialists from the State Security Agency and the SA Police Service. They have to provide feedback to Parliament and Cabinet by February 13, a day after the opening of Parliament and President Zuma’s state of the nation speech.

Mbete’s instruction follows a hint in the Special Investigating Unit’s Nkandla report that Zuma’s Nkandla home is not safe and that a security analysis must be urgently conducted.

Having already paid R246?million for security upgrades to Zuma’s private home, taxpayers’ patience could be stretched to the limit.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has already undertaken to disrupt Zuma’s speech on February 12 and is demanding that the president pay for the upgrades.

Fana Mokoena, EFF spokesperson, said should it be established that more money would be spent to secure Nkandla, the EFF would kick up a fuss.

“We’ve already spent a lot of money on Nkandla. If they want to spend more money, that would be absolutely crazy,” he said. “Then they can expect many more questions and anger from us.”

Parliament this week confirmed that Zuma would answer oral questions in the National Assembly on March 11, but this did not satisfy the EFF.

The party said it wanted to know before February 12 when Zuma would pay back the money, or they would disrupt his speech.

City Press understands Mbete’s office sent similar letters to the presidency and the department of public works following recommendations made in November by the parliamentary ad hoc committee on Nkandla.

In the letters, she instructs that every department, as well as Cabinet, execute the recommendations applicable to them.

The recommendations include:

»The president must act against ministers who contravened the secret Cabinet memorandum during the Nkandla project;

»?The department of public works must act against officials who disregarded rules, regulations and procedures; and

»Cabinet must send security experts to Nkandla to determine what constitutes security and non-security upgrades at the president’s private residence.

The Public Protector established in her report on the upgrades at Nkandla that some improvements, like the swimming pool, the cattle kraal, the visitors’ centre, amphitheatre, a marquee area and the paving, were unnecessary luxuries. The Nkandla committee, however, questioned this and said she could not make those findings because she was not a security expert.

Nhleko’s spokesperson, Musa Zondi, confirmed that his department received Mbete’s letter. He could not immediately comment on whether a team of experts had been dispatched to Nkandla.

Cabinet spokesperson Donald Liphoko said Cabinet would probably discuss the Nkandla issues during its lekgotla in the first week of February. This would give Cabinet enough time to provide feedback on the recommendations to Parliament by Mbete’s deadline.

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