SIU gets some backing

2015-02-26 00:00

THE National Department of Public Works (NDPW) intends helping the Special Investigating Unit prove its case against Nkandla architect ­Minenhle Makhanya.

This was said in an affidavit by ­Mziwonke Dlabantu, director-general of NDPW in Pretoria.

The SIU wants to force Makhanya to repay treasury R155 million for alleged unauthorised and reckless over-expenditure on the Nkandla project.

But the NDPW, which allegedly played an oversight role, is also cited as a co-respondent of Makhanya in the court papers.

Dlabantu says, however, that ­although the NDPW is cited in the papers, the “entire litigation has been brought to benefit NDPW”.

Hence the department has filed a notice to participate in the proceedings to help the SIU in proving a case against Makhanya.

The NDPW is also opposing Makhanya’s demand to be provided with some 40 documents relating to the Nkandla upgrade which he alleges he needs to defend the case against him.

Makhanya has so far been given a compact disc with around 23 documents but the SIU said it either doesn’t have the other documents, they are classified or “irrelevant”.

Dlabantu said in his affidavit that as director-general he is the “custodian” of all the official records of the NDPW including all official documents relating to the Nkandla project.

However, he said some of the documents are “classified” documents that can’t be given to Makhanya in terms of the law because they will “expose the security measures” at Nkandla and thus endanger the safety of the president and his family.

Dlabantu said the documents are “extremely sensitive” and disclosing them would defeat the entire purpose of installing security measures at the president’s residence.

He added that although the NDPW is in possession of the documents, it isn’t the author of them. They were prepared by the SAPS and the SA National Defence Force.

These institutions had classified the documents and it would be improper for NDPW to “declassify” them and hand them over, said Dlabantu.

He said if Makhanya wants them he is free to seek them from the SAPS and SANDF through the Promotion of ­Access to Information Act.

Dlabantu also alleges that Makhanya does not need the documents and is merely on a “fishing expedition” and is trying to “obfuscate the issues” to undermine the application for him to repay the money owed to the state.

The case was yesterday set down for trial in the high court on June 23.

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