Thuli’s praise for Nkandla action

2014-08-13 00:00

PUBLIC Protector Thuli Madonsela has praised the Special Investigating Unit for its legal pursuit of Nkandla architect Minenhle Makhanya.

“The SIU has done a good job,” she said in a statement issued by her office.

Madonsela welcomed further criminal charges.

“We welcome criminal action in all cases where there was corruption or malfeasance,” she said.

The elusive architect was a focal point of her 400-page investigation report on the president’s homestead, titled S ecure in Comfort .

Her findings identified Makhanya as a leading cause of soaring costs and misuse of government funds linked to the project.

They mirror the content of court papers filed on Monday by the Special Investigations Unit.

Madonsela wrote: “It would appear that the course of events changed significantly around August 2009, when Mr Makhanya, the president’s private architect who had been involved in the president’s non-security construction works, was brought in, without going on tender, to act as the Department of Public Work’s Principal Agent in respect of the entire Nkandla Project, while retaining his position as the president’s principal agent and architect.

“This is the period when the scale of work increased exponentially, leading to installations that were not recommended in any of the authorising instruments or Security Evaluation Reports and the cost of works escalating to over R215 million. ”

In various stages of her report, she highlighted that Makhanya was not qualified to make key security decisions.

“... Furthermore Mr Makhanya is an ordinary architect and not a security expert or adviser,” she said.

“I have had great difficulty understanding why Mr Makhanya and the other consultants and contractors brought in on account of prior involvement in President Zuma’s private renovations, were considered key to the work relating to the helipads, the clinic, homes for police members, the relocation of households and most of the general site works.

“Most of these measures were unrelated to the private renovations by the president and were executed outside his private property.”

She wrote that Makhanya was repeatedly asked to be frugal with his spending.

“What is particularly disturbing is that the minutes show that Mr Makhanya was often asked to design something more economic and he would come back with something more expensive or even luxurious and then make a submission regarding why the ‘security’ needs had to be met through the more costly design,” Madonsela said.

“His ticket to the project was on account of non-security related architectural work he was performing for his client, the president.”

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