Nhleko: Zuma not liable for Nkandla upgrades - As it happened

2015-05-28 15:30

Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko has determined that President Jacob Zuma is not liable to pay a portion of the security upgrades to his Nkandla homestead. Read the details of Nhleko's report, as it happened.


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Last Updated at 10:20
28 May 16:46

To sum up...

Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko has determined that President Jacob Zuma is not liable to pay a portion of the security upgrades to his Nkandla homestead, for the following reasons:


The homestead's security features "are in accordance with the physical security requirements and/or interest," Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko says.

1) The firepool is a strategic asset useful in firefighting and therefore is a security feature.

2) The animal enclosure keeps livestock away from the security features and thus enhances security imperatives and is a security feature.

3) The ''amphitheatre'' has a clear security purpose and is thus a security feature.

4) The visitors centre has to cater for the president's guests and meetings. Privacy and confidentiality is necessary during such meetings, thus the centre is a security feature.

28 May 16:44
And the Question and Answer session ends, as well as Police Minister Nhleko's press briefing after a mammoth, 3-hour slog...

28 May 16:42

Nhleko adds to Fifteenth Answer: The fact is that there is a process which has been followed which culminated in Parliament adopting a resolution, which then directed what the minister of police needed to do.

As part of processing, this report has been tabled with Parliament and it is for Parliament to then process the matter in a manner in which it deems fit and then arrive at particular conclusion.

I did say that is that my understanding is that this report does not stand in relation to other reports. It is a report that speaks to four areas that the PP raised as non-security comforts.

28 May 16:34

Fifteenth Answer: (Nxesi, not Nhleko answers) We have put question marks in relation to all the pricing.

What was speculated by media of R246m, we don't know where it came from. We also said let's allow for investigations to conclude. We don't know how much more money needs to be spent.

We will rely on what the police says needs to be reviewed or done.

28 May 16:34
Fifteenth Question: How do you think the public will react to news that there are more upgrades that need to be done and more money to be spent?

28 May 16:30
Thirteenth Answer: "Just a house" sounds like a political statement to me. I don't know. Certainly it is a homestead. In rural areas we don't have rural houses. We have homesteads. I don't see a house there. I see a homestead.

28 May 16:30
Thirteenth Question: What is the president's response to your report? Would you characterise his homestead as "just a house" as Zuma referred to yesterday?

28 May 16:29

Twelfth Answer: Did I say that PP is not a security expert? An impression is not what I said. An impression is what you make up in your head. What I said in the report were quotations from what other reports said. In this report I do not say that PP is not a security expert.

The Report was presented to Parliament. What is of importance here is that the report was worked upon in manner in which we did and presented what our analysis is of issues in question and therefore conclusions we arrived at.

28 May 16:28
Twelfth Question: PP is an advocate which means she is not an expert on various government institutions. If you are saying now that we can reject her findings, are you not saying it is open to government ministers or others to reject her findings?

28 May 16:26

Eleventh Answer: The reason why minister of police had to do this work is that parliament adopted resolution that said minister of police also needed to look into some of these issues.

It is not the minister of police who woke up and decided he wanted to do it. This very same report must be subjected to discussion and scrutiny by parliament.

Then I suppose and suspect that they will adopt a position once it is fully considered. Report is not necessarily positioned in relation to other reports.

All it says is that these are the matters I have been asked to look at.

28 May 16:26
Eleventh Question: What makes your finding legally binding?

28 May 16:18

Tenth Answer: All that we are saying is that everyone of us here have got rights under current dispensation and system of Constitution.

All we are then saying is that there has been an element of intrusion into the privacy for instance of the presidency's living circumstances, insofar as his residence is concerned.

From a security point of view, many of you now know about some security features. Therefore there is a need to conduct re-evaluation of security detail relating to president's private residence.

That is what we captured in report.

28 May 16:17
Tenth Question: You found that the president's rights were violated. This is a serious statement. Would you recommend that the president should pursue this through judiciary?

28 May 16:15
Ninth Answer: This report is limited to four areas. In other words, I have also qualified that I did not deal with other issues raised by the PP. In the work we have had to do, we have established there is a security purpose and function.

28 May 16:15

Ninth Question: The PP's report alleged that family members may have benefited. What are your findings in this regard?

If so, who are they, how much money is involved and will there be prosecution?

28 May 16:13

Eighth Answer: I don't feel conflicted at all. My approach to issues of this nature...is that issues of governance do not work on basis of whether I like you or do not like you. There are policies and law and that is what we need to stick to.

In this instance, major preoccupation was how did these things come about?

The problem we are likely to face generally as South Africans, is we are falling into trap of personality account. Let's deal with issues as we are and be objective in how we deal with that.

If you had to ask me what my authority is, I am able to point out all the steps I took, whether you agree with them or not.

28 May 16:09
Eighth Question: To Nhleko: Did you feel conflicted having to make these judgements, did you discuss it and do you think it's apt to make these calls about someone on whom your very appointment rests?

28 May 16:06

Nxesi adds: R10m down to R3m... if you read all the reports, you would find the issue was there.

It was a submission by former regional manager who purportedly prepared a report.

This letter which made reference about was unsigned and the then minister had never seen it nor sent to the president.

What we call the authenticity of that letter in the various reports was questionable and no one at the end owned up to it or could even explain it.

And that is why it was thrown out.

28 May 16:04

Seventh Answer: I am not sure what you are referring to when you refer to what executive says and what Parliament says.

These are two distinct arms of government. We need to be able to draw distinction between the two.

All I know is, for example, is that a process needed to take place at cabinet level but also needed to flow over to Parliament in form of tabling.

It has now been officially tabled. The other processes are how Parliament can process this report further, following discussions between them and various parties and institutions

Regarding R10m, no logical explanation for why it was there. Same for R3m and how that was arrived at.

28 May 16:03

Seventh Question: Just some clarity on page 11 of the report please. It was not only the PP who felt money must be paid back.

Public Works department said Zuma must pay R10m, and then reduced to R3m. Explain please.

Was your report in consultation with treasury?

28 May 16:01

Sixth Answer continued: In the same report, the same visitor's centre is on top of Saps control room. That tells you in terms of what the original thinking was particularly derived out of the Saps evaluation report.

You wouldn't build your house on top of a police station. If you do so, it would have been because of some security consideration, I suspect.

28 May 16:00

Sixth Answer: No mandate has been changed. The finding says that these are non-security issues.

You must then say if they are security or non-security. Then you determine liability.

For me, the PP's recommendation is very clear. There is improper benefit arising from measures in name of security to derive non-security.

It is very clear that you have to operate within this frame of finding by the PP. I would hope you are not suggesting that Zuma is only a president when at his other residences.

The responsibility of being a president occurs anywhere he is. That's the point we are making in the report.

28 May 15:59

Sixth Question: On the issue of mandate under which you started, it emanates from the findings of PP that you have to determine.

Why did you change that to undertake another investigation on whether he has to pay or not, rather than how much he has to pay?

How do we account for the fact that at least 3 residences have been built at State expense to conduct official business; that we can justify building a Visitor Centre at Nkandla?

28 May 15:58

Fifth answer continued: SA people are not stupid. All this report does is show that there are issues questioned and issues in dispute.

The question is: why are these issues disputed?

28 May 15:57

Fifth Answer: I am not making insinuations. There is a specific finding that says measures were implemented in the name of security.

There is a suggestion of impropriety. It's like me saying here that you are asking me this in the name of journalism, not by the mere fact that you want to clarify.

You must know if I say that, that I am questioning your professional standard. So this is an important point. All I am saying that if there was wrongdoing, they must be taken to account.

The process is quite clear. The process is that the minister of police has already tabled report and it has been circulated by Parliament to various interested groups.

28 May 15:54

Fifth question: You seem to indicate the PP made a number of insinuations. Am I over interpreting that as criticism of chapter nine institution?

Is the next step now that you or the president will take the PP report on review? Do you really think this kind of report will settle once and for the public outcry?

Do you think you can sell this to the SA public?

28 May 15:53

Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi adds to that answer:

Various reports made a number of findings and recommendations in relation to violations of the various regulations and codes. Pointed to those who were managing.

Those who were implementing or project managing must answer a number of questions. Not just junior officials as some have indicated.

The private security companies must also come and respond on these overinflated prices.

They have to answer on those issues because not everything was done according to prescripts.

28 May 15:47

Fourth Answer: Would I be amenable to an independent inquiry?

When you arrive at that point, you must first conclude that what has been done is not independent. In other words, what are failing points and weaknesses [of these other reports]?

Difficulty you probably find is that you have to go back to what happened to 2009. 2011, who said what etc. State security agencies are only agencies competent to conduct security evaluations.

Generally, I would say to you that this is one report that I do not have a problem with. I mean, if it has got to be scrutinised, let it be scrutinised.

This is just me at a personal level. But the decision is not mine whether I can invite a so-called independent person to do this. This product is open to scrutiny of any sorts really.

And through the Parliamentary process, it will also be subjected to similar kind of scrutiny.

28 May 15:45
Fourth Question: Four reports have now been conducted. How comfortable would you feel if a completely independent inquiry happened?

28 May 15:44

Third Answer: This is a valid question about whether there have been changes. The report was completed by 18 March.

You may be aware that there have been engagements by political parties. Some weeks later, they arrived at a conclusion that the ad hoc committee has to be set up to process this.

This still has to happen. There were no changes precisely because we concluded.

28 May 15:42
Third Question: Were any changes made to this report between now and when it was completed on March 30? If not, why the delay?

28 May 15:40

Second Answer: In the beginning, when I started this report, this report was limited and does not deal with whole range of other issues raised in the PP’s report.

It focused strictly around four areas - amphitheatre, cattle kraal, visitors centre and swimming pool.

Interestingly, we found out that in these security evaluation reports, the original ones, there was consistent reference to firefighting capability.

What do you do with issues where you have a legitimate item identified from a security analysis and evaluation, but in its execution you probably have got an inflated pricing around that?

And that is what this section of this report deals with. You may discover that that is where prosecutions come in.

Lastly, I’m not aware of whether children have been allowed into the pool. I really wouldn't know. All I was interested in was why there was a pool.

28 May 15:39

Second question: If you are saying he is not liable, why are there prosecutions as well as civil claims against some architects involved in the Nkandla project?

If the upgrades were legitimate, why the civil claims? Lastly, have children been allowed in the swimming pool?

28 May 15:34

First answer: In presentation of report, we had to trace questionable aspects arising out of PP's report, Nhleko says.

Where we started, it was to say that we have government policy around protection of Heads of States.

Secondly, you then have Saps and other agencies that need to be activated to conduct evaluation.

We are talking about what was initially done from the beginning that then informed design and construction. 

The finding by the PP says that these are non-security comforts. You need to establish that first and foremost.

Eventually in the tracing and kind of research and analysis...it takes us back to how we were we informed by various evaluations. I agree a contradiction does arise.

28 May 15:33
First question: Your finding contradicts PP's finding. Her duty to investigate is protected by the Constitution. By which power, law or legislation did you make your finding? Also how much will it cost to complete recommended security features not completed yet?

28 May 15:31
Now to a Question and Answer session with journalists:

28 May 15:28

“Accordingly, the State president is therefore not liable to pay for any of these features,” Nhleko wraps up.

“Outstanding security and security related work at Nkandla should be funded and completed expeditiously.

“This report is hereby submitted to and tabled for consideration by Parliament.”

28 May 15:23


All of these are "security features which are in accordance with the physical security requirements and/or interest," Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko says.

1) The firepool is a strategic asset useful in firefighting and therefore is a security feature.

2) The animal enclosure keeps livestock away from the security features and thus enhances security imperatives and is a security feature.

3) The ''amphitheatre'' has a clear security purpose and is thus a security feature.

4) The visitors centre has to cater for the president's guests and meetings. Privacy and confidentiality is necessary during such meetings, thus the centre is a security feature.

28 May 15:20

Conclusion for amphitheatre:

1) serves as assembly point, used for briefing and debriefing, retains soil and carries inner security road.

28 May 15:18

Conclusion for Visitors Centre:

1) The feature is strategic and crucial for security of meetings and engagements with president.

2) President remains Head of State even whilst on leave or at home.

3) Visitors Centre is strategically positioned that it allows for necessary security separation from private activities.

4) Needs to be completed to appropriate standard as soon as possible.

28 May 15:16

Conclusion for kraal and chicken run:

1) Relocation of livestock was necessary

2) new enclosure enhances perimeter security

3) efficient use of fence tech would avoid false alarms

28 May 15:16

Conclusion for firepool: is that eight hose reels need to be connected to water reticulation system, more hose reels need to be installed.

Additional fire hydrants need to be added, a booster pump must be installed.

28 May 15:14

Findings and observations continued:

4) Swimming pool is known to be best firefighting water source and as such the most important security feature.

5) Established through scientific and practical demos that the best water source on site at Nkandla is the pool.

6) Portable fire pump is supplied with sufficient water. Pump was able to adequately supply two ground monitors.

28 May 15:13

Findings and observations:

1) Firefighting at Nkandla is not up to required standards.

2) Fire hydrant static pressure is very poor and inadequate thus insufficient for fighting fires.

3) Inspection of hose reels shows that only two of them out of 10 are connected to water reticulation system.

28 May 15:12
Implied presumption of impropriety in the PP's finding pertaining to an articulation which states ...non security comforts.

28 May 15:12
The police report is proper, well done and relevant.

28 May 15:11
Also evident from available information that communication within the project team was poor.

28 May 15:11
Evident from the reports that most of the structures and or task teams that investigated the security upgrades did not share common definition of what constitutes security upgrades and their relevance.

28 May 15:08
The constitution allows for right to dignity and to privacy.

28 May 15:08
The president is entitled to enjoy rights like any other citizen.

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