Johannesburg - Four cabinet ministers formed the line-up when Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi briefed reporters on the findings of the task team he asked last year to investigate state spending at President Jacob Zuma’s private Nkandla residence. These are excerpts of what they said:
“Let us up front state that the private Nkandla residence of President Zuma, like the residences of former presidents and former deputy presidents, have been declared national key points in terms of the National Key Points Act, 1980. Therefore, any information relating to security measures undertaken at a national key point is protected from disclosure in terms of this act.
“In May 2009, after the inauguration of President Zuma, the Department of Public Works, in line with its obligation to effect security measures at the president’s private residence, which is regularly used by the president, became involved in the Nkandla residence. The president is not involved whatsoever on this matter. There’s an assessment by security departments and then it is for the Department of Public Works to implement.”
State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele:
“The private residence was being built by the Zuma family and there’s no evidence the state has spent anything on that. On the ethics, the minister has said that where we have determined there was wrongdoing it’s only ethical to take steps because these are public funds. There’s nothing unethical on our behalf in reporting and admitting that there were irregularities and steps will be taken, as (Nxesi) has said.”
Justice Minister Jeff Radebe:
“The money that was spent by the state was for these security upgrades at private residence. Was the president involved? The answer is no. No money of the state was used for the upgrade of the private resident of the president. There were irregularities; in this instance the manner in which officials in the Department of Public Works procured these services and all those implicated officials, the law enforcement agencies are going to take their course in finding those people involved in order to be accountable for that.
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa:
“The reason for that (security upgrade) lies in the security threat assessment for any project for any public officer whether it’s a minister (or) president. At the point of the assessment… the conclusion then becomes that these are the kind of things you need and that has to be achieved. Now, whether that would be justifiable or not, I would say yes. In this case threat assessment was such that all the things which have been pointed out here were said to be needed in that process.”