Nkandla contractors 'not cleared'

2013-11-17 14:49
Nkandla (Cornél van Heerden, Beeld)

Nkandla (Cornél van Heerden, Beeld)

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Durban - Contractors that worked on Nkandla, President Jacob Zuma’s Kwa-Zulu Natal residence, were privy to the estate’s secrets for more than a year before being vetted by the National Intelligence Agency.

According to the Sunday Times, Minenhle Makhanya Architects and two building companies, Bonelena Construction Enterprise and Projects and Moneymine 310 secured 71% of the R210.5m security budget despite having had no previous experience in building high-security facilities.

Company employees had full access to maps and architectural drawings of Nkandla without having had the necessary clearance. The newspaper reports that the NIA and the Department of Public Works flouted strict security protocol when allocating the contracts.

This comes in the wake of court action by security cluster ministers to stop Madonsela from releasing her report into the Nkandla upgrade. They claim the president’s safety will be jeopardised should the report be made public.

It emerged last week that Madonsela implicated President Jacob Zuma directly in her report on the state’s spending of R206m at Zuma’s private Nkandla estate. Zuma had to date denied that the state had paid for the new homes on his estate. In an affidavit filed in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday afternoon, Madonsela for the first time said Zuma privately appointed the architect of the whole project.

This means that Minenhle Makhanya Architects from Durban, who earned more than R18m from the Nkandla project, were not appointed after a tender process conducted by the department of public works, but by Zuma himself.

The man behind Zuma's mansion

The Witness earlier reported that the architect uses a run-down residential home for an office, and works part-time as a pig farmer.

However, the newspaper also established that architect Minenhle Makhanya has powerful connections - and was previously a partner with the son of former chief justice Pius Langa.

Documents in the possession of The Witness confirm not only that state funds were used to pay Makhanya’s tiny, Pinetown-based firm on the project, but that his fee was 9.62% of the entire project cost.

Lew Bryan, director of Conco Bryan Architects in Pietermaritzburg, said: “You would expect a contract like that to be decided by a major provincial competition, and well-resourced firms to be considered”.

Bryan said he was “astonished” by the deal: “We haven’t seen that kind of fee in 10 years.”

The Witness on Thursday found Makhanya Architects based at a run-down residential home, with no reception area, and old car tyres stacked against a broken-down wall. Entrance to the firm was through the kitchen, where the only evidence of any activity was a can of coffee powder on the counter.

One staff member told The Witness that Makhanya was “away on site - a school on the South Coast”, before instructing reporters to leave the premises, and driving away in a bakkie.

However, a neighbour, Danny Naidoo, said that the “staff member” had, in fact, been Makhanya himself, based on a detailed description supplied.
Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  thuli madonsela  |  durban  |  nkandla upgrade

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