Ex-deputy minister removed when she asked for Zuma to pay

2014-03-21 00:00

A DEPUTY minister was quickly removed from her post when she insisted that President Jacob Zuma should cover part of the costs at Nkandla — and now the architect who designed the estate is in the firing line.

Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, then deputy minister of Public Works, had also told the Public Protector that she had voiced her concerns to the former minister of Public Works when she learnt that the costs for Nkandla would be shared by Zuma and the state.

Bogopane-Zulu, currently Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, and Geoff Doidge, former minister of Public Works and currently ambassador in Sri Lanka, have been singled out as the main culprits for the Nkandla scandal.

Madonsela had found in her report that Zuma must pay the state for any non-security related expenses at his private estate.

The final report states that Bogopane-Zulu had met with Zuma as the deputy minister in December 2010 and Zuma had complained about the delays in completion of the project.

She also informed the president about the project and he explained his unhappiness about a number of issues concerning the security.

According to the report, Zuma had especially complained about the bullet-proof windows, which reminded him of his incarceration at Robben island.

Meanwhile the role played by Zuma’s private achitect, Minenhle Makhanya, in upgrading Nkandla must be probed, said the ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe yesterday.

Mantashe said if Makhanya had enriched himself irregularly, “the money will be recovered”.

Steps will also be taken against Makhanya if he had access to state funding, Mantashe said.

Madonsela’s report showed the Nkandla costs had started to sky-rocket when Makhanya became involved with the project.

Makhanya’s fee had earned him R16,5 million as part of his work, which according to Madonsela costs more than R200 million.

Makhanya had told Madonsela that Zuma was present when he was introduced to the Public Works officials in August 2009.

Madonsela said she could not fathom how Makhanya, who used to do private work for Zuma, was considered for such a project.

The Public Protector said he had increased the costs using security as the excuse.

According to Madonsela’s report, Bogopane-Zulu had made the following recommendations on Nkandla:

• That RDP homes must be built for the indigent neighbours who would have to be relocated to make space for Nkandla;

• That the military clinic should serve the broader Nkandla community;

• That the swimming pool should be opened to the public to teach children from the community how to swim; and

• That electricity should be shared with the other communities.

None of her ideas were recognised, states the PP’s report, and Bogopane-Zulu was soon removed from the “Prestige Portfolio”, which included the Nkandla project.

“She asked the minister for reasons, but he refused to discuss the matter.”

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