Parliament stunned as full cost of Nkandla is revealed
The DA claims the state paid 260% more on President Jacob Zuma's private home in Nkandla than it did in securing a new prison in the Northern Cape.
On Thursday afternoon, Democratic Alliance MP Anchen Dreyer stunned the House when she revealed that R117-million was paid to provide security in Zuma's Nkandla home, compared to R45-million spent in securing the new jail in Kimberley.
While giving a breakdown of the Nkandla security costs, Dreyer also revealed the names of companies that she said benefitted from the development and received payments for contracts that seemed to be for bona fide security measures at Nkandla.
They were: the Bonelena Construction Enterprises & Projects for emergency works relating to security measures; Moneymine [which] got a negotiated contract for security measures inside the house; Natal Parkhomes for the supply and delivery of Parkhomes accommodation for members of the South African Police Services and or defence; Pro-Hydraulics for the supply and installation of a mobile generator; South African Bullet Resistant Glass installed bulletproof glass; Betafence Projects South Africa supplied and installed a high security fence; Otis got the tender to install a lift and E Magubane installed phase 11 security measures.
Dreyer said the cost for these security measures added up to R117-million.
"To put this amount into context, the department of public works built a new jail in Kimberley with top range security for R45-million, but spent R117-million – exactly 260% more – to provide security for one man," she said.
The Kimberley prison which entails buildings of 41 754sqm and accommodates 3 000 male offenders was completed in 2010 at a cost of R777-million to the state.
Dreyer's allegations come a day after National Assembly speaker Max Sisulu announced that he had received a letter from Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi regarding the tabling of the report by the department's task team on the security upgrade of Zuma's home.
Responding to Dreyer in Parliament, Nxesi did not reject Dreyer's allegation and appeared to confirm them.
He was not impressed with the DA member for not waiting for the tabling of the task team's report and instead bringing information from her "informers".
He said: "We said it publicly [when releasing the preliminary report] that there were irregularities in the supply chain and there was overpricing which we were suspecting, hence we said we are subjecting those issues to further investigation.
"I'm not sure what is this thing which is new that you are trying to say here," said Nxesi.
Meanwhile, the ANC in Parliament welcomed Nxesi's intention to table a report on the security upgrades at Zuma's private residence.
"The minister's decision to subject the report to parliamentary scrutiny is demonstrative of his commendable respect for the authority of Parliament. The decision is also reflective of the seriousness with which the minister regards his obligations in relation to parliamentary accountability and oversight," it said.
The ANC proposed that a special parliamentary mechanism be created to ensure that Parliament deals with the report without compromising the president's security. "We will therefore prefer that the report of the department of public works task team be dealt with by a special committee and in-camera."
The party said section 59 of the Constitution permitted in-camera committee meetings when "it is reasonable and justifiable to do so in an open and democratic society".
In terms of rule 152 of the rules of the National Assembly, meetings of the committees are open to the public, including the media, except when the committee is considering a matter which is, among others, of a private nature that is prejudicial to a particular person or confidential in terms of the legislation.
The ANC said matters pertaining to the security details of the head of the state have similar weight of sensitivity to those normally dealt with by the joint standing committee on intelligence, which conducts its business in-camera.
"An open deliberation on this matter will not only compromise the security of the president but it may also make Parliament liable to court action or be legally prejudicial to individuals and companies under investigation.
"Democratic parliaments all over the world employ similar mechanisms when dealing with sensitive security matters as those contained in the task team report," it said.