PP asked by DA to widen Nkandla probe

2012-12-03 00:00

THE Democratic Alliance has asked Public Protector Thuli Madonsela to widen her investigation into the multi-million-rand developments at President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla compound, to see if his extended family was benefiting from the project.

The announcement, made by DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko yesterday, comes in the wake of several news reports, including in The Witness, that members of the Zuma family have allegedly benefited from the R240 million Public Works-funded improvements at the president’s private residence.

The DA had already asked Madonsela to investigate spending on the complex, known as “Prestige Project A”, and the proposed R2 billion “Zumaville” development near the president’s home.

Mazibuko said they would ask Madonsela to extend her investigations to see whether the project had benefitted members of Zuma’s family.

Last week, The Witness reported that Vincent Zuma, a nephew (who admitted he was not known to the president), had obtained a R16 million contract to do civil works at the Nkandla complex. He had obtained the job as a sub-contractor from Pietermaritzburg-based Bonelena Construction, which scored over R100 million in Prestige Project A contracts.

On Friday, The Witness reported that Bonelena was broke and was being liquidated for failing to honour a R175 000 debt for the hire of commercial vehicles.

Mazibuko’s statement comes in the wake of the Sunday Times reporting yesterday that Zuma’s brothers, Joseph and Michael, may have received electrical equipment at the expense of the state.

“Using public funds for the unjustifiable benefit of any individual is not only grossly unethical, but it also stands in clear violation of the Executive Ethics Act,” Mazibuko said.

She said she would ask National Assembly speaker Max Sisulu to hold an “urgent parliamentary inquiry” into the developments.

“It cannot be acceptable for Parliament to remain silent while skeletons continue to tumble out of President Zuma’s Nkandla closet daily,” said Mazibuko.

Just how Michael and Joseph may have benefitted is derived from papers filed in the Durban High Court.

A company claiming to be Southern Africa’s “largest electrical distributor”, Voltex, filed papers against Moneymine Enterprises, which was apparently awarded a nearly R50 million contract for work within Prestige Project A.

Voltex was seeking judgment against Moneymine to recoup R545 000 for goods sold.

A document seen by The Witness showed this case was initially before the court on November 9 for summary judgment. It is unclear whether the matter was postponed or if Moneymine was granted leave to defend.

Representing Voltex, lawyer Simon Chetwynd-Palmer said the matter was settled before court was to proceed on Friday.

“Moneymine Enterprises will be paying back the amount in three instalments over three months. This is a straightforward collection. We expect the R545 000 to be paid back by February 2013,” said Chetwynd-Palmer, adding that the final amount could be higher once interest and fees were added.

President Jacob Zuma yesterday said people should not reach conclusions on matters they don’t know about.

He was reacting to the Sunday Times article that his brothers had benefitted from funds used to upgrade his home.

Speaking in an impromptu interview while at a wreath-laying ceremony on the South Coast, Zuma said: “If that area is being investigated it is better to wait until facts are there … because if you discuss without facts you are likely to make wrong conclusions and mislead the country.”

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