More Nkandla expenses await public

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nkandla nov 14 Independent Newspapers President Jacob Zuma's homestead at Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal. Photo: Bongiwe Mchunu

Cape Town - Whatever the final bill for construction work at President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla home, already standing at R206 million, the public will also end up paying for maintenance and running costs for the facilities on state land.

The government is already footing the electricity bill, but it is unclear whether this is for the whole property or for security features and accommodation of security-related staff only.

Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi said in a written reply to a parliamentary question on Friday a maintenance plan for the state property would be ready next year.

He had been asked by the DA’s Herman Groenewald to list running costs and said his department had, to date, incurred no running costs except for electricity.

A report by Parliament’s joint standing committee on intelligence (JSCI) emphasised that the bulk of the construction expenses was incurred in relation to state-owned land.

It said there were two properties – the private property of the president and state land, where facilities that couldn’t fit on Zuma’s land were built.

Of the R206m total spent on security at Nkandla, 24 percent went to the private residence and 52 percent to the “government hub” section for infrastructural costs.

The remaining 24 percent was for consultancy fees, according to the JSCI report.

Nxesi’s spokesman, Sabelo Mali, was in the Eastern Cape on Friday, where the department was involved in preparations for Nelson Mandela’s funeral, and referred queries to the director-general’s office.

However, no one was available there to clarify matters.

Nxesi classified an internal task team report used by the JSCI in its investigation, saying at the time it was insensitive to ask for details of the work done at Nkandla.

But, after the Mail & Guardian published details from what it said was a leaked version of the public protector’s provisional report on Nkandla, the cabinet said the Public Works document, stripped of security information, would be released this week. Mandela’s death resulted in a postponement, however.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has said she expects to make her own report public next month.

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