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De Klerk denies Nkandla-style benefits

Sapa

Former president FW De Klerk has denied receiving benefits similar to those of President Jacob Zuma.

According to the Sunday Times, the properties of FW De Klerk did not have work done on them similar to that carried out at Zuma's Nkandla residence.

De Klerk reportedly told the paper the state had paid to increase the height of a perimeter wall around his property in Fresnaye, Cape Town.

It also paid for the installation of security cameras and the construction of a room and a toilet for his guards.

When De Klerk retired, the government paid for a security guard's hut on the pavement of his Pretoria residence.

On Friday, Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi claimed the upgrades at Zuma's residents were similar to those of former presidents.

He refused to disclose how much money had been spent on the security and other construction at Nkandla.

Protector launches probe

Meanwhile, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has opened an investigation into publicly funded construction at Nkandla, City Press reported.

"Yes, an investigation is under way," Madonsela told the paper.

Madonsela said her office began preparing for an investigation after an official complaint was made a few months ago.

She said Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko also made a complaint last week.

"Because of our resource constraints, the investigation hasn't gone further than contacting the presidency," Madonsela told the paper.

"We are asking the presidency who makes what decisions and who is accountable. This involves more than just [the department of] public works.

The Mail & Guardian reported on Friday that the Nkandla homestead appeared to have been declared a national key point and was consequently subject to blanket secrecy.

The government's own figures show that nearly R240-million is being spent on the homestead. This emerged as the government ratcheted up attempts to suppress the information using apartheid-era secrecy legislation.

A document published by City Press last Sunday revealed that in March 2011 the state approved a security upgrade for an amount of R203-million at Nkandla.

But department of public works director general Mandisa Fatyela-Lindie refused to comment in City Press, claiming the homestead was a national key point and thus subject to blanket secrecy.

Nxesi then defended the enormous expenditure and announced that the mere possession of the "top secret" document was illegal and he would investigate how it had reached the newspaper. However in May this year, Fatyela-Lindie herself supplied Nkandla's detailed cost allocations and projections in a briefing before Parliament's National Council of Provinces. This document can be freely accessed online. It suggests the department and Nxesi's claims that the information is "top secret" could be a recent construct, designed to prevent embarrassment for Zuma in the run-up to the ANC's elective conference in Mangaung in December.

The cost schedule presented to the council reveals the following:

  • Contractor fees at Nkandla are expected to total R193-million;
  • Consultant fees at the homestead are projected to cost an extra R44-million. Three engineers canvassed by the Mail & Guardian expressed concern that, at 23% of the contractor's fee, this figure was very high. Consultant fees on such projects typically range between 10% and 15%;
  • Several security upgrades for ministerial private residences are priced at exactly R100 000, which is consistent with the ministerial handbook regulations. The only two exceptions are Zuma's Nkandla, totalling R238-million and former President Nelson Mandela's Qunu residence, at R23-million, a fraction of what is being spent on Zuma;
  • The department misled the M&G last November when it claimed it was spending only R36-million on Nkandla. In the cost schedule, it does reveal that R36-million was spent on contractor fees in "previous years". But the schedule also reveals that during the same period the department spent another R26-million on consultant fees.
  • In addition to this glaring omission, the department was obfuscatory by failing to make reference to the enormous projected costs. - Staff reporter and Sapa

 

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