Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma and his family unduly benefited from upgrades made to his private Nkandla home by about R246 million, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has found.
“It is common cause that in the name of security, government built for the president and his family in his private [home], a visitors centre, cattle kraal and chicken run, swimming pool, and amphitheatre among others,” the report titled “Secure in Comfort” said.
“The president and his family clearly benefited from this.”
The report was released on Wednesday as Madonsela briefed reporters in Pretoria.
Zuma gave the nod for all upgrades at his Nkandla home, the report revealed.
“It is my considered view that the president tacitly accepted the implementation of all measures at his residence and has unduly benefited from the enormous capital investment,” the report read.
“A reasonable part of the expenditure towards the installations that were not identified as security measures in the list compiled by security experts... should be borne by he and his family.”
In her report, Madonsela said installations such as the visitors’ centre, cattle kraal, chicken run, swimming pool and the amphitheatre at the Nkandla homestead could not be consciously accepted as security measures.
Madonsela recommended that Zuma must pay a percentage of the cost of the security upgrades.
"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.
According to reports, in August 2010 the cost estimation for the Nkandla project was R145 million.
By the time Madonsela had concluded her investigation, R215 million had been spent. The total cost to complete the project was conservatively put at R246 million.
Madonsela, however, found that Zuma had not intentionally misled Parliament.
“I have accepted the evidence that he addressed Parliament in good faith and was not thinking about the visitors centre, but his family dwelling, when he made the statement.
"While his conduct could accordingly be legitimately construed as misleading Parliament, it appears it had been a bona fide mistake and I am accordingly unable to find that his conduct was in violation of ... the executive ethics code," she said.
Madonsela found that Zuma had failed to "apply his mind" to the contents of the declaration of his private home as a national key point.
He specifically failed to implement security measures at his own cost.
She said if the National Key Points Act was complied with, Zuma would have to be held to the provision of the declaration of the minister of police, issued on April 8,2010.
This declaration informed Zuma of the decision to declare his private home as a national key point and directed him to secure it at his own cost.
"It is further clear from all communication by President Zuma that he was never familiarised with the provision of the National Key Points Act."
The declaration was apparently delivered to Zuma's office in April 2011, a year after it was made and more than two years after the security installation had commenced.
Madonsela said it was her view that Zuma was wearing two hats- that of ultimate guardian of the resources of the people of South Africa, and that of being a beneficiary of public privileges.
She said, however, he failed to discharge his responsibilities in terms of the latter.
In November, Zuma told Parliament his residence in Nkandla was paid for by the Zuma family.
“I took the decision to expand my home and I built my home with more rondavels, more than once. And I fenced my home. And I engaged the bank and I'm still paying a bond on my first phase of my home,” he said at the time.
“My residence in Nkandla has been paid for by the Zuma family. All the buildings and every room we use in that residence, was built by ourselves as family and not by government.”
Madonsela also said on Wednesday that a critical service delivery programme was shelved and money diverted to upgrade Nkandla.
“Funds were reallocated from the inner city regeneration project and the dolomite risk management programme of the department of public works,” Mandonsela said in her voluminous report.
“Due to lack of proper demand management and planning, service delivery programs of the department of public works were negatively affected.”
Madonsela said the conduct of the department of public works was in violation of Section 237 of the Constitution and the Batho Pele White Paper. - Sapa