Top officials fail in Nkandla report

2014-03-19 19:46
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has been scathing in her Nkandla report of the conduct of government ministers and top officials involved in the Nkandla upgrades.

The building of a clinic on Zuma’s doorstep would benefit the family forever, Madonsela found, and the official acts and omissions that let this happen were an act of maladministration and improper conduct.

She described the lack of controls with regard to cost and the scope of the project in government as having created a “licence-to-loot situation”.

She said ministers of public works Geoff Doidge, Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde and Thulas Nxesi had provided incorrect information and had cited wrong legal authority for the Nkandla upgrades.

She also said Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa had failed to apply his mind properly when he declared Zuma’s house a national key point in 2010, and in “directing the president to implement security measures at own cost or to properly modify the declaration”.

“This failure constitutes improper conduct and maladministration,” says the report.

She said the two former ministers and the two incumbent ministers could have provided better leadership when the news of the escalating cost of Zuma’s Nkandla residence first broke in 2009.

Improper conduct

Madonsela accused bureaucrats at public works of failing to apply their minds and of flouting government tender procedures when they procured goods and services for the project, and described it as also constituting improper conduct and maladministration.

She singled out acting public directors general Solly Malebye and Sam Vukela as having violated the relevant prescripts and laws.

However, she commended chief quantity surveyor G Pasely for showing “exemplary conduct by raising her concerns about the excessive escalation in the cost of the project”.

“It is unfortunate that her concerns were not taken seriously,” Madonsela’s report said.

She was equally damning of the SAPS and department of defence officials. She singled out SAPS Security Advisory Service head Brigadier Adendorff and former surgeon general Vejaynand Ramlakan for failing to comply with public finance laws and Treasury prescripts concerning their responsibility.

The report was even more scathing of Zuma’s private architect, Minenhle Makhanya, whom it accuses of being a servant of two masters by working for both Zuma and the government, saying it amounted to a conflict of interest.

It says Makhanya could not be controlled by government officials and had opted for expensive options because he got paid a percentage of the portion of the cost of the project.

To date Makhanya, who was introduced to government by Zuma, has earned R16.5m for his services.

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  thuli madonsela  |  pretoria  |  nkandla upgrade

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