The initial budget for upgrades at former president Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead was estimated to be R27 million and ultimately stood at R216m. A specialist of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), who could not be named as the matter was being held in camera at the Pietermaritzburg High Court, made this revelation yesterday while testifying in the R155m civil recovery proceedings against Nkandla architect Minenhle Makhanya.
The decision to proceed with the matter in camera came as the Special Tribunal was alerted to the information detailing private security details which will expose former president Jacob Zuma’s security.
In March 2014, former public protector Thuli Madonsela released her final report on upgrades at Zuma’s Nkandla homestead. She found that Zuma and his family benefited from measures implemented in the name of security.
The “Secure in Comfort” report found that Zuma and his family had unduly benefited from the R246m spent on non-security features at Nkandla – including a swimming pool, kraal, chicken run and visitors’ centre – and that he should pay back part of the money.
The court heard that the proclamation that authorised the SIU came following the recommendation of the ministerial task team. Their immediate mandate was to look at the procurement processes in which irregularities were found.
According to the witness, their investigation made the reference that other state departments were also involved. The SIU investigated several state officials, 15 consultants and contractors appointed by the Department of Public Works and those who influenced procurement processes.
The witness said 110 interviews were done, 59 statements obtained and 75 bank accounts of public works officials scrutinised. Investigations revealed that there were several ’’over designs’’, overpayments and overcharging of amounts, and 14 consultants with fraudulent certificates were found.
The upgrading of the facilities outside the scope of the original work is a problem and resulted in the large-scale increase of the costs, the witness said during proceedings.
Though the National Treasury regulations require that proper planning should be in place and that the procurement should be done in compliance with the law, the witness said several areas are of concern as there were discrepancies in the procurement processes. The witness will continue testifying today.
In other news – Inside Lebo Sekgobela’s 40th birthday – Photos
MULTI-AWARD winning gospel star, Lebo Sekgobela, recently celebrated her 40th birthday in style.
The Thato Ya Hao singer has been posting photos from her surprise birthday party. She turned 40 on 19 September and the celebration was also held on the day. Learn more