SIU submits replies to Zuma’s Nkandla architect

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) submitted its replies to Nkandla architect Minenhle Makhanya on the upgrades to President Jacob Zuma’s homestead, in the high court in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday.

The SIU filed 23 replies to Makhanya’s 40 requests for documents. The other documents Makhanya wanted were not relevant or were already in his possession, it said. The replies were on a compact disc. Printed copies were not immediately available. 

In his application last Tuesday, Makhanya said he wanted the SIU to “make available for inspection within five days” documents relevant to its civil claim against him, including its final report on the upgrades. 

Makhanya and the department of public works face a R155-million civil claim relating to work done at Zuma’s homestead in KwaZulu-Natal. According to reports, the SIU claimed that the department offered to appoint Makhanya as principal agent of the Nkandla upgrade project, but the appointment was unlawful as it was not preceded by an open tender process. 

The claim further detailed Makhanya’s authorisation of security measures beyond those advised by the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). 

It stated that Makhanya had authorised installations that did not fall within the scope of security measures. 

‘Unlawful and negligent conduct’
He allegedly over-designed SAPS and SANDF facilities and the public works department paid service providers when it was not obliged to do so.

As a result of his “wrongful, unlawful and negligent conduct”, R68 506 106 was paid to service providers for work that fell outside what the SAPS and SANDF recommended. According to the SIU, this figure includes: 

  • exit tunnels and three lifts for R21,180,245; 
  • 20 additional units for the SAPS and SANDF and laundry at R11,963,924; 
  • basement parking at R4 971 995; 
  • VIP parking R3 064 239; 
  • relocation of two households at R10 622 616; 
  • two roads inside Nkandla at R4 454 454; 
  • airconditioning at R4 454 129; 
  • landscaping at R3 371 550; 
  • visitors’ units at R3 927 954. 

It is not clear from the documents what is meant by a unit.

Publicise the report
In a report released in March, public protector Thuli Madonsela found Zuma and his family had unduly benefited from the R246-million spent on the security upgrades.

Makhanya made headlines after it was revealed in Madonsela’s report that he made R16.5-million from the project. The SIU handed its final report on Nkandla to Zuma on August 20. It said at the time it was under no obligation to make the report public. The documents sought by Makhanya included: 

  • Security assessment reports by the SAPS and the SANDF; 
  • Approval by the minister of public works for the costs of security measures; 
  • A request or motivation by the director general of the public works department to appoint him as architect; 
  • Bidding documents submitted to the department by consultants and contractors in the Nkandla project; 
  • All contracts concluded between the department and the consultants and/or contractors; and 
  • All documents and materials the SIU relied on to compile particulars of its claims and those relied on for its allegations of excessive payments and above-market payments. – Sapa

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