Where is President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla architect, Minenhle Makhanya?
The architect, fingered in Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report as the “principal agent and architect” of President Jacob Zuma’s R246 million home, is lying low.
Last week, Madonsela said that the architect had been a go-between for government officials and the president.
Indications are that he is in hiding as he cannot be found at his home, or at his offices in KwaZulu-Natal.
On Tuesday, The Mercury tried to raise him at his farm in Richmond but phone calls, rattling the chain at the front gate, and text messages were all ignored.
The farm is in a remote valley and is approached through canelands, cabbage fields and avocado pear plantations.
The farmhouse looks like a mini-Nkandla, with its five rondavels mirroring Zuma’s home.
The entrance is barred using a thick chain hung between two trees about 2km from the house.
Visitors were clearly not welcome. An employee said the chain was new and that he was surprised to see it when he reported for duty on Monday. The employee said Makhanya had left earlier in the day, but would return in the afternoon.
From a distance, the only signs of life were grazing sheep and cows, a parked SUV and washing on the line.
Another employee said that Makhanya farmed cattle.
In Durban, reporters visited his two Pinetown offices. At one, a woman said he had popped in this week.
“I don’t know where he is… what you can do is leave your business card and I’ll ask him to contact you,” she said.
In Richmond, locals described the architect as “a man with a lot of money”.
“You can tell from the luxury cars he drives. He changes them every day,” said one.
A woman who identified herself as an “employee”, being chauffeured in a white Land Rover Discovery, said Makhanya was not home and had left on Monday.
“He didn’t come back. I don’t know where he is,” she said, frostily. The driver then asked the team to leave.
”You can’t be here,” he said.
“Tractors drive here and you are on their path, please leave,” said the driver, before escorting reporters from the farm.