Protector: Zuma appointed Nkandla architect

2013-11-14 09:02
(Picture: City Press)

(Picture: City Press)

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Johannesburg - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has implicated President Jacob Zuma directly in her report on the state’s spending of R206m at Zuma’s private Nkandla estate.

Zuma had to date denied that the state had paid for the new homes on his estate.

In an affidavit filed in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday afternoon, Madonsela for the first time said Zuma privately appointed the architect of the whole project.

No tender process

This means that Minenhle Makhanya Architects from Durban, who earned more than R18m from the Nkandla project, were not appointed after a tender process conducted by the department of public works, but by Zuma himself.

Zuma’s spokesperson Mac Maharaj did not react to questions on Wednesday.

Makhanya told Beeld: “I am not in a position to comment,” and referred Beeld to the department of public works.

The ministers of police, state security, public works and defence are trying to prevent Madonsela from making public her report because they allege it will compromise Zuma’s safety if Madonsela releases the provisional report without state comment.

Madonsela was surprised that the ministers made allegations of threats to state security when Zuma had himself appointed a private architect with “absolutely no security experience or clearance” to oversee the entire Nkandla project on behalf of the department of public works.

Attempts to block report

Madonsela’s report also lists the many attempts by government to block her probe into the Nkandla spending. She said the ministers were not telling the court that they have already shown her preliminary report to their deputies. Madonsela said her team was “frustrated and in many instances obstructed” while it was conducting the probe.

“Many of these frustrations are detailed in the executive summary to the provisional report. These include only being given sight of certain documents for short periods and in the presence of government officials, and key members of the investigation team being excluded from important meetings,” Madonsela said.

The ministers who attempted to stop the Public Protector’s Nkandla probe are Nathi Mthethwa (police), Siyabonga Cwele (state security) and Thulas Nxesi (public works).

Madonsela said it was “mooted” that her probe into the R206m upgrade at Nkandla be suspended pending the outcome of an investigation by the Auditor-General.

“As recorded, the Auditor-General advised my office that he had declined the request by public works at the onset.”

She said Nxesi told her on 31 May he had persuaded the A-G to conduct an investigation.

“This has not, to my knowledge, materialised, nor has the SIU [Special Investigating Unit] yet been authorised to conduct any investigation,” Madonsela said.

Madonsela asked the court to dismiss the ministers’ application with costs. 

- With additional reporting by Sapa.



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