Amazing Nkandla revelation

2014-10-21 00:00

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla architect, a man Public Protector Thuli Madonsela reports had no security clearance, says in court papers the police and defence force instructed him to conduct detailed inspections of the country’s top official state buildings.

This was to ensure the security provided at Nkandla was similar in scale.

Minenhle Makhanya says in an affidavit in the Pietermaritzburg high court that, when preparing for the Nkandla project, he had received instructions from “a Bridgadier Zille” of the South African Police Service (SAPS) to conduct site inspections of other buildings in which security measures had been taken to secure the president and his family.

Specifically, he visited King’s/Dube House in Durban, Genadendal in Cape Town and Mahlamba Ndlopfu and the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

“In doing these site inspections, I was specifically instructed to examine the dimensions of the various buildings with a view to replicating those in the president’s private homestead in Nkandla.

“That is why I visited these places. It was on the instructions of the SAPS and South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and was designed to enable me to implement and construct security structures such as guard houses, control rooms, on-site clinics, staff houses, crew pavilions, fence, specialised glass and glazing at Nkandla similar to those provided for in the official residents [sic] of the president,” he said.

The affidavit forms part of Makhanya’s ongoing battle with the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and national Department of Public Works over a R155 million claim against him.

This is the sum he is accused of plundering via his allegedly “over-the-top” unauthorised Nkandla security upgrades.

The architect filed an application to be argued in the Pietermaritzburg high court on July 26, demanding the SIU and department make available documents, some of which the SIU claims are “classified” or do not exist.

Makhanya says he wants documents, including bills of quantities, material specifications and sizes approved for the Prestige Projects between 2007 and 2012, to plead his case.

“I can only answer issues raised in the plea if I am able to show the security features of the president’s official residence is [sic] more or less similar to that provided for at his private residence,” he states.

The documents he did receive on compact disc already fill 13 lever arch files.

Makhanya disputes the SIU’s suggestion he should already possess the documents he seeks, saying all documents and electronic records were immediately returned to the department “due to the security nature” of the Nkandla project.

Among those not yet handed over are reports by the SAPS and SANDF, which Makhanya says the SIU refuses to release on the grounds they are classified. He finds it “astonishing” they rely on them on one hand to sue him and claim on the other they are irrelevant for the purposes of his plea.

The allegation by the SIU is that, based on the reports by the SAPS and SANDF, the department estimated the costs of the security measures to be R27 893 067.

Makhanya allegedly authorised measures “far beyond” these requirements, escalating the cost to over R216 million.

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