SIU to apply for new trial date after Nkandla architect's R155m case postponed

Minenhle Makhanya (City Press)
Minenhle Makhanya (City Press)

The civil trial involving the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and Minenhle Makhanya, the architect of the infamous Nkandla upgrades, has been postponed.

The SIU went to court in 2014 seeking an order setting aside Makhanya's appointment as principal agent and architect of the Nkandla project and damages of R155m, the SIU said in a statement on Tuesday.

The unit is seeking to hold him personally liable for R155m of the roughly R245m spent on upgrades to former president Jacob Zuma's Nkandla homestead.

The trial was scheduled to commence on Monday, June 10 2019, at the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg. The SIU said it was ready to proceed but the court agreed to Makhanya's request for a postponement to allow him more time to prepare his defence.

The SIU will now apply for a new trial date, which will probably be set down for some time next year.

The high court roll is frequently the reason for delays in SIU civil litigation, the unit's head, advocate Andy Mothibi, said in the statement.

"In order to address the cause for the delays, [President Cyril Ramaphosa] has issued a proclamation to re-establish the special tribunal, which will adjudicate on civil matters emanating from SIU investigations. The setting up of the special tribunal by the Department of Justice is at an advanced stage and is planned to commence its function in August 2019.

"Once the special tribunal starts functioning, the delays in enrolling SIU civil litigation matters will be addressed and the recovery of monies and assets acquired in a corrupt manner will be fast tracked and be returned to the state," Mothibi said.

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