Zuma must pay back portion of costs - ThuliComment on this story
Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma must pay a percentage of the cost of security upgrades to his private Nkandla home, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela recommended on Wednesday.
The recommendation comes after Madonsela found that Zuma and his family unduly benefited from the upgrades.
She said it was common cause that the government, in the name of security, built Zuma and his family a visitors centre, cattle kraal, chicken run, swimming pool, and amphitheatre among other things.
“The president is to take steps with the assistance of the National Treasury and the SA Police Service to determine the reasonable cost of the measures implemented by the DPW [department of public works] at his private residence that do not relate to security,” she said in her report in Pretoria.
“[Zuma is to] pay a reasonable percentage of the cost of the measures”.
Madonsela said the amount to be paid back should be based on the cost of the installation of some or all of the items that were not accepted as security measures.
The estimated total cost to Zuma's Nkandla home is over R240 million, Madonsela's report revealed on Wednesday.
“It is estimated that the cost of phase three, which has not been implemented, is R31 186,887, which could bring the total estimate cost of the project to R246 631 303.”
Madonsela found that the department of public works' records indicated that, by the time the probe was concluded, total expenditure on the project amounted to R215 444,450.
Madonsela's report found that the total cost of the Nkandla project included:
* Total payment to contractors R161 418,824
* Value of contractor payments certificates, certified but not yet paid, R3 672 748
* Total payment to professional consultants R50 352 842
* Cost estimate for phase three, excluding consultants' fees R31 186 887.
Madonsela also said Zuma should have asked questions about the scale, costs and affordability of the security upgrades to his private home.
“It is also not unreasonable to expect that when news broke in December 2009 of alleged exorbitant amounts...[it was] required of President Zuma to take reasonable steps to order an immediate enquiry into the situation and immediate correction of any irregularities and excesses,” Madonsela said.
“His failure to act in protection of state resources constitutes a violation of ... executive ethics code and accordingly amounts to conduct that is inconsistent with his office as a member of Cabinet.”
Madonsela further recommended that Zuma reprimanded all the ministers that had handled the Nkandla project in an appalling manner.
Zuma also had to report to the National Assembly on his comment and action taken on Madonsela's report within 14 days.
Madonsela also revealed Zuma's architect, Minenhle Makhanya, has made R16.5 million from the Nkandla project.
Madonsela said in her report into the matter that Makhanya served as a go-between for government officials and the president.
“What is particularly disturbing in this regard, is that minutes show that Makhanya was often asked to design something more economic and he will come back with something more expensive and even luxurious.”
Madonsela said Makhanya was brought in 2009 without going to tender.
Makhanya was brought in to act as the department of public works' principal agent, while retaining his position as Zuma's private architect.
“This is the period when the scale of work increased exponentially, leading to installations that were not authorised and costs escalated to R215m.”
In the report, Madonsela said Makhanya had made R16.5m from the Nkandla project by the time this probe was completed.
His appointment was improper and did not satisfy legal requirements, Madonsela's report found.
The Presidency declined to comment on Wednesday on Madonsela's findings.
When contacted, Zuma's spokesman Mac Maharaj referred all queries to the Government Communications and Information Services.
The GCIS has scheduled a media briefing for 3pm on Wednesday to respond to Madonsela's report. - Sapa