Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi has condemned and dismissed media’s report that he failed to cooperate with National Treasury’s investigation into Nkandla.
National Treasury, this week submitted its report to the Constitutional Court, indicating that President Jacob Zuma must personally pay R7.8 million for the non-security upgrades made to his Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal.
A report by the Sowetan newspaper also stated that: “In terms of the report, Nxesi’s department failed to submit the bill of quantities of the structures to help determine the reasonable costs for Zuma.”
It added: “A report by National Treasury submitted to the Constitutional Court shows that Minister Nxesi’s department fell short of what was asked from them by investigators.”
Reacting to this, the minister said such allegations by the media is not true. He said his department cooperated to the fullest in ensuring the success of the investigation.
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” his department said. “The article … gives the impression that the minister … was attempting to stifle the investigation by Treasury.
“To set the record straight, Nxesi cooperated and supplied all relevant information in its possession to the investigators appointed by Treasury.
The Department of Public Works complained that the allegation against the minister is yet another attempt to assassinate his character. It said the media was insinuating the department is attempting to stifle the Treasury’s investigation into Nxesi’s role in the scandal.
“The minister is not responsible for missing documents or information that was in a poor state,” it huffed. “It should also be recalled that … (Nxesi) took over when the Nkandla project had been implemented and completed.”
The R7.8 million to be paid by president Zuma is meant to cover for the upgrade of visitors’ center, amphitheater, swimming pool, cattle kraal and chicken run. The Constitutional Court had ruled that Zuma pays back a portion of the R216 million spent on the upgrades, as stipulated in a report by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.
Nxesi’s department said it was public knowledge that there was maladministration in the project and that missing documents were one of the many problems around the matter.
“It is critical to note that our own professional architect alerted the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and Treasury as early as April that the consultant’s drawings of the project contained insufficient and scant information that would make the cost calculation difficult,” the department stated.
The department added that due to Nxesi’s concerns, he instituted an investigation that made several recommendations, including that the matter is referred to the SIU for further investigation.”