10 Public Works officials set to take the fall for Nkandla

2014-05-30 00:00

CAPE TOWN — A former acting director-general and another nine officials of the Public Works Department are set to take the fall for the Nkandla upgrade.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU), currently probing the upgrade at President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla estate, has already handed over disciplinary files with evidence against 10 officials to the department and asked it to take action against them, SIU spokesperson Boy Ndala said yesterday.

He said the SIU is aiming to complete its investigation, ordered by Zuma, within the next month, after which it will be handed to Zuma.

“Only the president gets a copy of the report and it is for him to decide whether he wants to make it public,” Ndala said.

DA federal chair James Selfe said the DA is concerned that this investigation is a joke that will protect Zuma, while blaming low-level officials.

The SIU probe is the third into the Nkandla affair, after ones by an interministerial task team and the public protector.

Zuma was supposed to make recommendations to Parliament about the Public Protector’s (PP’s) report last month, but delayed until he could also study the SIU findings.

While the task team made no finding against Zuma, the PP ruled that he had violated the law. The PP had given Public Works, Defence and the national police commissioner until May 1 to outline their plans for remedial actions.

The Times reported yesterday that a former acting director-general of Public Works is among the 10 against whom the SIU found evidence of wrongdoing.

The department’s remedial plan was leaked to the newspaper. The official was not named. The PP report mentions two acting directors-general.

Solly Malebye was in control from January 2009 until March 31, 2010, and Sam Vukela took over when he resigned.

According to the PP report, Malebye:

• insisted that Zuma’s preferred architect, Minenhle Makhanya, must manage the project;

• often pressured the project team to work faster and take short cuts;

• maintained he was under the impression the project would not exceed R27 million, although he was informed in February 2010 that costs were already more than R80 million; and

• largely contributed to the overspending by violating tender procedures.

Vukela also failed to follow correct tender procedures and was the one who ordered that R40 million budgeted for a dolomite stabilisation programme should be transferred to Nkandla.

Ndala said the SIU is obtaining legal advice on possible civil action.

How the reports differ

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