/ 9 June 2013

Zuma’s R800 Nkandla lease agreement

Zuma's R800 Nkandla Lease Agreement

President Jacob Zuma pays a mere R800 per month for the lease on his 8.9 hectare Nkandla compound, according to a City Press report. This is the land on which the controversial R206-million upgrade to Zuma's private home is taking place.

The newspaper reported on Sunday that, according to documentation it obtained, Zuma's lease is for 40 years with the option to renew. Adjacent to Zuma's estate is a 6.6 hectare area, leased by the public works department, for R1 300 per month.

The newspaper also revealed a "scramble" to secure the leases, resulting in a fast-tracking of that process.

It was previously reported that an investigation by the public works department into the financing of the Nkandla upgrades would be kept a "secret". This was because the report would be referred to Parliament's standing committee on intelligence, ostensibly for "security reasons". That committee's work is not open to the public.

Meanwhile, the M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism, amaBhungane, is taking Thulas Nxesi, the minister of public works, to court in an attempt to gain access to the full details of Nkandla's funding. This is after the department ignored an attempt to obtain the documentation via the Promotion of Access to Information Act.

The Mail & Guardian previously revealed how Zuma himself was aware of the scale of the upgrades at Nkandla. Leaked documents showed that Zuma was kept abreast of the upgrades in "exhaustive detail" as early as November 2010. 

This week, Deputy Public Works Minister Jeremy Cronin told Talk Radio 702 he was anxious for an explanation on the "clearly outrageous" cost of the R206-million upgrade to Zuma's private home in Nkandla.

"It's clearly outrageous, it's clearly hard to justify."

Cronin was responding to concerns raised by Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko that Cronin's senior, Nxesi, classified a report on how the money was spent by sending it to Parliament's joint standing committee on intelligence. The committee meets behind closed doors and its members are sworn to secrecy.

Public protector Thuli Madonsela has conducted a probe into the upgrade. There is currently speculation on whether or not she will publicly release a report into the matter.

Last year, City Press reported that Zuma would pay only 5% of the bill for the upgrade, or around R10-million.

The president's private home will reportedly feature underground bunkers, a clinic, a fire station, special quarters for police, and a helipad. – Additional reporting by Sapa