Nkandla architect rejects ‘irrelevant’ late documents

2015-06-24 10:04
The homestead of architect Minenhle Makhanya near Richmond.

The homestead of architect Minenhle Makhanya near Richmond. (Ian Carbutt )

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Pietermaritzburg - Lawyers for Nkandla architect Minenhle Makhanya on Tuesday rejected an “eleventh hour” offer of three previously classified documents held by the SA National Defence Force.

Makhanya’s advocate Thabani Masuku told Pietermaritzburg High Court Judge Mahendra Chetty that the three documents, which were offered by the Department of Public Works only last Friday, were not on the list of documents Makhanya is seeking and were “irrelevant”.

In fact, he complained DPW was simply adding to the burden of costs facing his client by filing a late affidavit, along with the documents without following the rules of court.

DPW advocate Nceba Dukada SC, however, said the documents were offered to Makhanya in “good faith” as they were only declassified by the SANDF on June 10.

The issue was the first subject on the agenda when the high court heard legal arguments on behalf of Makhanya, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and the Department of Public Works. This was during the course of an application in which Makhanya is seeking a court order to force the SIU and DPW to make available documents he says he needs to prepare his plea to defend himself against a claim of R155 million by the SIU for alleged unauthorised and reckless over-expenditure on the Nkandla project.

Judge Chetty ruled that the late affidavit and documents would not be admitted into the proceedings.

The arguments presented before the judge on Tuesday centred around documents that Makhanya says he needs to properly prepare his defence, some of which the SIU and/or DPW claim are either “classified and therefore privileged”, irrelevant, don’t exist or are not in their possession.

Judge Chetty reserved judgment in the case.

Read more on:    siu  |  pietermaritzburg  |  nkandla upgrade  |  government spending

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