Nkandla architect faces big bill, crumbling marriage

2014-08-13 08:52
Minenhle Makhanya (City Press)

Minenhle Makhanya (City Press)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Ingrid Oellermann and Jeff Wicks, The Witness

Pietermaritzburg - President Jacob Zuma's architect Minenhle Makhanya is lying low, with his marriage on the rocks and facing a R155.3m bill for Nkandla’s R246m “security upgrade”.

The president’s enigmatic architect is in a world of trouble as the Special Investigating Unit swoops in and as his wife told The Witness of her woes.

Court papers filed by the Special Investigating Unit and obtained by The Witness on Tuesday lay the blame for the Nkandla debacle firmly in Makhanya’s lap.

The anti-graft investigators want him to pay back R155.3m to taxpayers.

Among the big-ticket Nkandla bills the SIU is demanding he pay for are nearly R4m for VIP parking and the infamous “fire pool”, R4m for a visitors’ lounge and R5m for basement parking.

The department of public works is also cited as a defendant in the case for allegedly appointing him illegally.


His wife Lungi said on Tuesday their relationship had become estranged and she was not in contact with him.

“To be honest, I have no idea where he is and I haven’t spoken to him in days... He doesn’t live here anymore,” she said, referring to the Pinetown property registered to him.

“He lives in Richmond now and we never see him. If his phone is off I don’t know what to suggest,” she said.

Makhanya could not be reached for comment on Tuesday and declined to comment on Monday.

But a source close to the family, who requested anonymity, said that Makhanya’s first marriage was suffering because of “Nkandlagate” and a dispute over a second wife.

“She [Lungi] had been called repeatedly by journalists who asked about her husband transferring money into separate accounts. She even stopped working for him. Maybe it was to distance herself from everything that is happening,” the source added.

'Unlawful, wrongful and negligent conduct'

Meanwhile, the papers filed in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court allege public works lost R155.3m through Makhanya’s “unlawful, wrongful and negligent conduct”.

The move against Makhanya also backs Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's depiction of his central role in the scandal in her earlier inquiry.

The SIU’s court papers paint a picture of a project riddled with illegal appointments, unbridled spending and bloat as building costs sky-rocketed. Even the sizes of buildings ballooned.

The SIU said Makhanya’s appointment was allegedly made at the request of Jean Rindel, the department of public works’ project manager for Nkandla. The department’s director-general had also made the request.

The SIU said no competitive bidding or open tender process was followed and he was appointed in spite of him not being on the department’s list of registered suppliers.

Makhanya is accused of authorising improvements and installing security measures “in excess of and far beyond those determined by the SAPS and SANDF”.

He also allegedly “over-designed” the scope of works without authorisation; approved payments to service providers far above market rates, authorised payments for work that wasn’t even done, and failed to obtain a breakdown of the work charged for by contractors.

He allegedly also overcharged the department for his own professional fees and those of others.

Public works did not respond when asked for comment.

Read more on:    siu  |  department of public works  |  jacob zuma  |  minenhle makhanya  |  durban  |  pietermaritzburg  |  corruption  |  nkandla upgrade

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.