March 2014 Nkandla Jacob Zuma's residence
March 2014 Nkandla Jacob Zuma's residence
President Jacob Zumas architect Minenhle Makhanya
President Jacob Zumas architect Minenhle Makhanya

Durban - The man accused of allowing the multimillion-rand “security upgrade” overspend at President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead has claimed it was “astonishing” that certain documents being used as a basis to sue him, were not being disclosed.

Minenhle Makhanya, the architect and project manager for the controversial upgrades, filed papers on Monday in the Pietermaritzburg High Court to defend the R155 million action, and claimed that the documents were critical to the preparation of his defence.

Among the documents he wants is the Special Investigating Unit’s (SIU) final report on Nkandla, dated August 2014.

The architect said the SIU, which is suing him, was refusing to allow him access to certain documents on the grounds that they were either classified, did not exist or were irrelevant to his defence.

Makhanya said if the SIU failed to produce them, he would make an application for the removal of all references to these documents in the SIU’s particulars of claim.

“The contents of these documents constitute the foundation of the SIU’s claim against me and it is astonishing for the SIU to, while relying on the classified documents on the one hand, claim that they are irrelevant for purposes of my defending the claim on the other,” Makhanya said.

He is asking that the court order the SIU and the Department of Public Works to give him access to the documents.

The matter has been set down for hearing on January 26.

Makhanya is being sued for allegedly authorising and overseeing the implementation of improvements and installation of security measures at Nkandla which were “in excess and beyond the security assessments and requirements” of the police and defence force.

Makhanya first made a bid for the documents last month, after which the SIU gave him access to 23 of the 40 documents requested.

He conceded that the SIU had delivered a compact disc to him, which contained electronic items of certain documents. These documents amount to 13 lever arch files, but did not encompass all the allegations against him, he said.

Makhanya also denied claims by the SIU that he was in possession of certain documents he was seeking.

“All electronic records pertaining to the Nkandla project were immediately returned to the Department of Public Works due to the security nature of the project.”

He added that the documents might not only shed light on the scope of work on the Nkandla project, but also provide a proper basis for understanding the sensitive nature of the project itself.

Makhanya said the SIU’s averment that some of the documents he had requested did not exist was startling, as they were pertinently referred to in the SIU’s particulars of claim. “It is inconceivable that allegations could be seriously made in the absence of such critical documents.”

He claimed that the conduct of the SIU in refusing to allow him access to the documents was causing serious prejudice to his case.

It was “unfair, unreasonable and calculated to frustrate” his ability to properly defend himself, Makhanya said.

Ordered to inspect official residences

A glimpse into architect Minenhle Makhanya’s work on the Nkandla project (as quoted from his affidavit).

“During my involvement as architect for the Nkandla project, and consistent with the working procedures and protocols, I was given a variety of instructions by members of the SAPS and SANDF relating to the scope of security features and buildings.

“I received specific instructions to conduct site inspections of buildings in which security measures had been taken to secure the president and his family.

“I was asked to particularly visit the Kings House/Dube house in Durban, Genadendal in Cape Town, Mahlamba Ndlopfu and the Union Buildings in Pretoria for the purposes of getting the perfect idea of what buildings I would be required to draw in order to meet the security standards of theSAPS and the SANDF used elsewhere.

“The reason I was specifically instructed to visit these sites was to enable me to understand the scope and level of works of the project.

“In doing these site inspections, I was specifically instructed toexamine the dimensions of the various buildings with a view to replicating those in the president’s private homestead in Nkandla.

“I understood the instructions to mean that the security features and buildings at the president’s private residence had to measure up to those official residences.

“My visits to these places, on the instructions of the SAPS and SANDF, were designed to enable me to implement and construct security structures such as guard houses, control rooms, on-site clinics, staff houses, crew pavilions, fences, specialised glass and glazing at Nkandla similar to those provided for in the official residence of the president.”

Reports required:

* A SAPS report on the security assessments performed.

* A SANDF report on its security assessments.

* All the reports of site inspections undertaken by the SAPS and the SANDF.

* A proposal document presented by the SAPS to the Minister of Safety and Security, for approval by the Minister of Public Works for the costs of the security measures.

* Proposed security measures and costs document presented by the SAPS to the Department of Public Works.

* Department of Public Works internal memorandums, the planning instructions and bidding documents for all the consultants and contractors on the Nkandla project.

* All the bills, material specifications, and sizes approved in the period between 2007 and 2012 for the Prestige Projects, which included the guard houses, control rooms, on-site clinics, staff houses, crew pavilions, fence, specialised glass and glazing for other presidential residences and properties. These include Dube House in Durban, Genadendal in Cape Town, Mahlamba Ndlopfu in Pretoria and the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

* All the SAPS requirements in relation to guard houses.

* All declarations of secrecy and confidentiality signed by representatives of the Department of Public Works, SAPS, SANDF and Makhanya.

* All the authorisations by the Department of Public Works of the cost estimate reports.

* All the drawings authorised by SAPS, SANDF and the Department of Public Works.

* The SIU final report on Nkandla, dated August 2014.

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