Pretoria - The government spent R206 million on security upgrades and consultants for President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla home, Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi said on Sunday.
Included in this amount was R135 million for “operational needs”, R71 million for consultants and security features such as bullet proof windows, security fencing, evacuation mechanisms, and firefighting equipment, he told reporters in Pretoria.
Also included in the total was R26 million to make changes to the project (variation orders).
The “operational needs” included medical facilities and accommodation for various government departments.
Of the R71 million around R50 million was for the actual security upgrade and R20 million was paid to consultants.
However no houses were built using public money.
“There is no evidence that any house belonging to the president was built with public money,” Nxesi said, following an investigation by a task team.
Nxesi was joined by Justice Minister Jeff Radebe, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele.
There were however irregularities in the appointment of the 15 service providers and consultants who worked on the project.
“It is very clear that there were a number of irregularities with regards to appointment of service providers and procurement of goods and services.”
In view of the irregularities the task team's report would be handed to the Special Investigation Unit, the Auditor General and the SA Police Service for further investigation, Nxesi said.
“If there are any professionals who are found to have acted unethically (they) will be reported to their respective professional bodies.”
The task team was appointed in November after the costs of Zuma's residential complex caused an outcry. The matter was also raised in Parliament.
Nxesi said Zuma's home, like those of former presidents and former deputy presidents, had been declared a national key point.
The task team was told to ascertain in detail the security assessments and recommendations made by state security agencies.
“The investigation revealed that an approval was granted to the regional bid adjudication committee to adopt a negotiated nomination procedure in appointing contractors, despite this being a national project,” Nxesi said.
Mthethwa said the amount spent on security was justified.
“At the point of (the security threat) assessment and at the conclusion (it became clear) that these are the kind of things we need for assessment and they need to be adhered to,” he said.
Cwele said neither Zuma nor his family had an input on the security upgrade.
“They were not involved with the design and installation of security measures.”
Nxesi said Zuma was informed of the security upgrades, but did not know any of the details.
“The details are with public works, informed by what comes from the security department.”
Radebe reiterated this saying: “The president was not involved and no money was used for the upgrade of the residence.”
Nxesi said the full report would not be made public as security features at national key points were protected in terms of the National Key Points Act.
“We took this unprecedented approach to inform the public about the specific project to quell some of the misconceptions which have been falsely peddled in the public space. We do not disclose any security measures pertaining to the national key points, as required by law,” he said. - Sapa