ANC says 'actual cost’ of Nkandla is R71m

2013-12-19 16:43

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The ANC has claimed that the “actual cost” of work done to President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead is R71 million, and not the R208 million bill Minister of Public Works Thulas Nxesi had revealed during a post-Cabinet briefing in November.

At the time, Nxesi said an extra R2 million was spent on “final touch-ups”, bringing the total spend to R208 million.

During a briefing on the release of the ministerial task team report into spending on Nkandla today, Nxesi said the cost of the “actual security installation” was approximately R71 million and that R135 million had been spent on “operational needs and basic facilities” (such as water power and accommodation) needed to support the security upgrades.

At another briefing the ANC convened straight after Nxesi’s briefing, secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said it was finally known that only R71 million had been spent on the homestead and not the widely reported R206 million. “The ANC remains concerned about this amount (R71 million) and would want to establish if (it is) justifiable and market related. We have also noted that some of the costs have been inflated. Stern action must be taken against those involved in such ... no matter their positions.” Mantashe said the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) should “urgently conclude its investigation into this matter and government mustn’t only go for criminal prosecution but also blacklist those who are involved”. He went to great lengths to explain that Zuma had in no way been involved with the upgrades, even though it has been reported that his architect was part of the project. Mantashe said he knew nothing about any architect connected to the president.

The secretary-general of the ruling party also thanked the task team for releasing the report as the ANC had asked a few weeks ago that government take the public into its confidence and be open about the spending on the president’s residence.

“The nation has now received a comprehensive and unambiguous statement and response to the expenditure of taxpayers’ money. But now we have to wait for the Public Protector to release (her) report as soon as possible. When we receive that report we will discuss both and look at any points of divergence,” he said.

Mantashe said he would not comment on whether the ministerial report vindicated Zuma but said that when all the reports had been assessed, the media would be invited to Nkandla to see the kraal, the paving and the other security upgrades instead of discussing something only in pictures.

Read: High heels and 9 other explanations for the Nkandla upgrades

Meanwhile, Mantashe said, the team would have to explain how the development inside the homestead would assist the community of Nkandla.

“For us it would not make sense for the clinic to be only used for the residents of the house alone. How will government treat and utilise the property that has been established? Development around the homestead must add developmental value to the residents living around the area,” he said.

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