According to papers that appeared before the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday, the disclosure of Nkandla security structures to the public, as sought by architect Minenhle Makhanya, would mean risking the lives of the president and his entire family.
In the words of director general of the national public works department, Mziwonke Dlabantu, in the papers, he said “Such disclosure would reveal “highly sensitive measures which would put the lives of president Zuma and his family in jeopardy”
He went on to say that the documents were prepared by the SA Police Service and the SA National Defence Force, which classified them. So rather than publicize them, Makhanya could seek the documents from these bodies through the Promotion of Access to Information Act. This he felt would be a better way of getting the desired en that would not jeopardize the safety of the president and his family.
With regards to work done at Zuma’s Kwazulu-Natal homestead, Makhanya and the public works department face a R155m civil claim. More so, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has claimed that as determined by the police and army, Makhanya authorized the construction of structures which were not for security measures.
He allegedly over-designed facilities and the public works department paid service providers when it was not obliged to. Also, as a result of his “wrongful, unlawful and negligent conduct”, R68.5m was paid to service providers for work that fell outside what the police and army recommended.
It was equally reported that the Special Investigating Unit claimed that the public works department offered to appoint Makhanya as principal agent of the Nkandla upgrade, but that the appointment was unlawful as it was not preceded by any open tender process.
In March, a report was released which said that Public Protector Thuli Madonsela had out found Zuma and his family had unduly benefited from the R246m spent on the upgrades done at the Nkandla. Following the reports, she recommended that Zuma should be made to repay that part of the money which was not spent on security.
After Madonsela’s report revealed that Makhanya had made over R16.5m from the project, he made headlines as the media had quite a few things to say about it.
The whole turn of events has made the SIU come to a conclusion which indicated that the best way of recovering the state money misspent on the project would be to claim it from Makhanya. However, this was in contrast with Madonsela’s findings that indicates that Zuma was liable and as such should be held responsible rather than Makhanya.
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