Durban - The architect who was paid R16.5 million to work on President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla home has been stopped from practising three times by the South African Council for the Architectural Profession, a regulatory body for architects.
Minenhle Makhanya who has, of late, become the hardest man in the country to find, has been suspended for non-payment of his annual subscription fees for the 2013/14 financial which ends on March 31.
He was named in the public protector’s report on Nkandla as having benefited inappropriately from work on the president’s Zululand home.
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said the architect had been a go-between for government officials and the president.
“What is particularly disturbing in this regard is that minutes show Makhanya was often asked to design something more economic and he will come back with something more expensive and even more luxurious,” she said.
The architectural council’s spokesman, Pappie Maja, said on Monday that Makhanya owed it R4 067.35, including penalties.
His failure to pay his annual fees dated back to 2001 when he was suspended for non-payment; this happened again in January 2009, but he subsequently made a payment in February that same year.
This was the same year that upgrades on Zuma’s home started.
Maja said the council would be adding its annual fee, of about R2 120, to the outstanding amount at the start of the financial year in April.
“We will also add 6 percent in penalties for non-payment which means he will owe us more than R7 000 if he still does not pay,” he said.
Maja said that although Makhanya’s debt dated back to last April, he had had until the end of August last year to pay, an extension given to all defaulting members.
It was only when Makhanya failed to meet that deadline that he was suspended.
“Once a member pays, we issue them with a new certificate to say that they can practise in that year.
“Mr Makhanya’s current status means he cannot practise and should not be hired to do any work until he has paid his annual fees and has a new certificate to say that he can work,” he said.
Maja said that Makhanya was first registered as an architect-in-training on September 16, 1997.
He was then upgraded to the category of professional architect on November 5, 1998 after passing his professional practice examination, Maja said.
“The council has never received or investigated any complaints against Mr Makhanya,” he said.
Madonsela’s report found that Makhanya was brought on to the Nkandla job without it going out to tender. He acted as the principal agent for the Department of Public Works but was also Zuma’s private architect, which amounted to a “conflict of interest”.
“This is the period when the scale of work increased exponentially, leading to installations that were not authorised and costs escalated to R215m,” Madonsela said.
The Mercury has tried for several days to locate Makhanya to ask for his comment on the allegations against him.