‘Nkandlagate’ law suit postponed

2015-01-27 00:00

AN eleventh-hour request by the Department of Public Works (DPW) to file court papers in connection with “Nkandlagate” led to a postponement of the law suit in the high court here yesterday.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is demanding Pinetown-based Nkandla architect Minenhle Makhanya repay the national Treasury R155 million for his role in the Nkandla overspending.

It was during his time as architect and principal agent in charge of the security upgrades that the costs allegedly soared from an anticipated R27 893 067 in August 2009, ultimately to R246 million.

Makhanya and the DPW, which allegedly appointed him without following proper channels, are both cited as defendants in the law suit.

The case had been set down for hearing in the Pietermaritzburg high court yesterday, but was adjourned for an indefinite period.

Barnabas Xulu — Makhanya’s Cape-based attorney — explained to reporters that the reason was the late decision by the DPW to file opposing papers, which it had not yet done.

“They requested to intervene at the eleventh hour and now need time to prepare and file papers,” said Xulu. He said the case would again be set down once the SIU and Makhanya have had time to reply. He could not say how long that would take.

“I was here and wanted the matter resolved as far as the provision of documents is concerned, which we need to defend ourselves,” he said.

Makhanya did not attend yesterday’s court hearing as his presence wasn’t necessary, he said.

Meanwhile, Advocate Nceba Dukada SC, who appeared on behalf of the DPW, said he believed the matter “should be enrolled again within the next two months”.

Makhanya’s lawyers initially responded to the application by demanding that the SIU provide them with a total of around 40 documents he says he requires to defend himself against the various allegations of misconduct on his part. The SIU subsequently handed over a compact disc with 23 of the documents. The SIU claimed others were in Makhanya’s possession or were classified, did not exist or were irrelevant. However, his legal team maintains all the documents are critical for his defence.

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