Nkandla: These officials are to blame, says SIU

2014-09-14 06:00

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Senior public works officials abdicated their responsibilities to exercise oversight over the spending in the controversial Nkandla project for President Jacob Zuma’s private residence and allowed consultants to dictate terms.

A Special Investigating Unit (SIU) probe has found this led to the costs spiralling out of control from R27 million to R246?million.

The SIU report, released this week by Zuma to Parliament, has laid the blame for the exorbitant costs at the door of 15 public works officials, four of whom have since left the department, while 11 others, who are still with the department, were members of the regional bid adjudication committee which “unjustifiably” approved the appointments of contractors who were “enriched” through the project.

They have been charged by the department for contravening the Code of Conduct for Public Service because they allegedly failed to do their jobs to ensure there was no irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

Among the senior officials identified by the report are Solly Malebye, Sam Vukela and Siviwe Dongwana, who were acting or permanent directors-general between 2009 and 2012.

The unit has referred the three, who are no longer with the department, to the National Prosecuting Authority to consider charging them criminally – which may mean some of the money spent on Nkandla could be recouped from them.

According to the report, during the investigation, some of the senior officials – like project managers Jean Rindel, Sam Mahadeo and the department’s manager of the KZN office, Kenneth Khanyile – “suggested” that they had been told to “destroy or not to keep documents” related to the Nkandla project.

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