JZ is ‘still not safe in Nkandla’

2014-11-08 00:00

DESPITE the R246 million spent on “security upgrades” at the private estate of President Jacob Zuma in Nkandla, he still feels “unsafe” in his own home.

This is one of the findings in the preliminary report by the parliamentary ad hoc committee on Nkandla which had been leaked to sister paper Beeld yesterday.

The report, which must be finalised next Friday and handed to Parliament, also found it was the ministers’ responsibility to ensure the cabinet’s memorandum of 2003 is carried out.

This secret memorandum, which sets out the procedures for security upgrades at presidential residences, was however largely ignored, with only two of the 10 steps met.

It is not clear if the committee will recommend that a new risk analysis must be done at Nkandla for further upgrades to be effected to ensure the president’s safety, but ANC members on the committee have already expressed their dismay about the low level of security at the estate.

ANC deputy chief whip Doris Dla­kude had in Thursday night’s committee meeting criticised “the people” whose jobs it was to safeguard Nkandla.

“We are not sure if the president is safe or not,” she said, adding the contractors hired without the necessary security clearances were a serious concern for the committee. “We really believe the job was not done properly.”

The Special Investigations Unit had also hinted in its report on Nkandla that Zuma’s estate is not safe and re­commended the police should do another risk assessment at the estate as soon as possible.

While the committee has already made it clear the civil servants who managed the project face dismissal, it now seems as if the ministers will also face action for their lack of oversight.

The Department of Public Works, state security, the police and the defense force had to monitor the project and ensure the process ran according to the cabinet memorandum. This did not happen.

The report states directors-general in these departments had to ensure the budget was adhered to while ministers were responsible for policy issues. The cabinet’s memorandum is described as a “policy issue” and was therefore the ministers’ responsibility.

The report also reads that ministers had taken over some administrative duties, which led to allegations that they had interfered irregularly with the Nkandla project.

The committee found Zuma did not ask for the upgrades and there is no proof that the president had influenced the cabinet or officials to act in a corrupt way, nor does the Public Protector have any proof to show the president had transgressed the Executive Members Ethics Act.

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