The Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s released a report on the security upgrade at President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla home which is just under 450 pages long and has a 75-page executive summary.
- The final costs of Nkandla are “conservatively estimated” to amount to R246 million, but could be higher.
- The initial cost was R27 million, but it escalated rapidly after Zuma’s private architect, Minenhle Makhanya, was appointed by the department of public works. He often recommended more luxurious and expensive options instead of going with the cheaper options and made R16.5 million (calculated as a percentage of costs) from the Nkandla project.
- Zuma and his ministers should have acted when the Mail & Guardian blew the whistle in 2009 on the R65 million the project cost at the time, but the spending increased after that.
- Zuma violated the Executive Ethics Code by failing to contain state spending and benefiting from it. He wore “two hats”.
- Zuma told Parliament that his family had built their own houses and that the state had not built any from which they benefited, but this wasn’t true. Madonsela accepted the evidence that he had told them this “in good faith”.
- Zuma must pay for the non-security upgrades at his home, which include a visitors’ centre, an amphitheatre, a swimming pool, a cattle kraal, a culvert, a chicken run and extensive paving. In the planning stages, there were constant references to Zuma having to repay these. Mail & Guardian calculated these to cost around R20 million.
- There was little precedent from previous presidential upgrades for the upgrades done at Nkandla. Former president Nelson Mandela, for instance, built his kraal at his own expense and didn’t require a “fire pool”.
- Proper tender processes weren’t followed at any stage, contrary to Treasury regulations. It was justified by the department saying that it was urgent, that private works had already started, for security reasons, and that only one supplier could supply the particular service required. Still, there were delays over which Zuma himself complained in March 2010.
- There was “massive” scope creep – Nkandla became a project with runaway costs because of bad management of service providers by relevant state organs. This created a “licence to loot” situation.
- The National Key Points Act was “inexplicably dragged in” halfway through the Nkandla building project (in 2010) and then its provisions were not applied. Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa failed to apply his mind when he declared Nkandla a national key point.
- Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, signed an affidavit, saying, under oath, that ministers close to President Jacob Zuma tried to stop her investigation and named the ministers: Nathi Mthethwa, Siyabonga Cwele and Thulas Nxesi.
- Thuli Madonsela posed 29 questions to President Jacob Zuma in August 2013 – he only replied to 11.
- The 18 questions on Nkandla that Zuma never answered: Whether he or the Presidency requested that security measures be installed at his private residence; Whether he was at any stage informed of the cost of the proposed security measures; Whether a notice declaring his private residence a National Key Point was served on him; What he understood to be his responsibilities as the owner of a National Key Point; What measures he took to secure his private residence as required by the National Key Points Act; Whether he was advised that some of the cost of securing his private residence as a National Key Point would be recovered from him; Whether he was presented by Mr Makhanya with the designs of the project; Whether he received the letter consisting of a detailed report on the progress made with the project that was addressed to him by former Minister Mahlangu-Nkabinde on 5 November 2010; Whether he received the document setting out the apportionment of cost for the project that was prepared by the Department of Public Works; Whether Deputy Minister Bogopane-Zulu discussed the conversion of the fire-pool to a swimming pool with him and whether he was aware of the reasons for this conversion; Whether he was consulted about the relocation of the households that were affected by the implementation of the project; Whether he was opposed to more contractors working on the site during phase 2 of the project; Whether Deputy-Minister Bogopane-Zulu discussed the design of the Military Clinic with him; Whether he would be willing to disclose the amount that he paid for the construction of the new dwellings on his property; How often he uses his private residence for official business; Why he would prefer using his private residence for official business rather than one of the official residences available to him; Whether he at any stage enquired into the cost of the project; and If not, whether he as the head of state did not feel obliged to do so as a substantial amount of public money was obviously being spent.