THE ANC, while welcoming the inter-ministerial task team report on President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead, was still concerned by the amount spent on the upgrade.
“While we note that the actual cost of the work done on the president’s homestead is R71 million, the African National Congress remains concerned about this amount and would want to establish if it is justifiable and market related,” secretary general Gwede Mantashe told reporters in Johannesburg on Thursday.
“We have also noted in the report that some of the costs were inflated in certain aspects of the project.”
Stern action had to be taken against those involved in such fraudulent and corrupt activities, regardless of who was involved and what positions they occupied in the public or private sectors.
“We make a call that the Special Investigating Unit urgently concludes its investigation on this matter that has preoccupied the national discourse,” Mantashe said.
“As the ANC we believe that government must not only seek criminal prosecution but go further to recoup the value and follow government policy to blacklist the companies and/or individuals who may have been unjustifiably enriched in this process.”
Earlier on Thursday, Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi said allegations that Zuma used state resources to build and upgrade his personal Nkandla residence were unfounded.
Releasing a task team report in Pretoria following an investigation into allegations indicating that costs for the upgrades were excessive, Nxesi said Zuma had not asked for the upgrades.
“The requirement to provide security for presidents, both sitting and retired, remains the responsibility of government. The Ministerial Handbook did not adequately address security around the head of state, deputy president and their families.”
Ministers of the justice, crime prevention, and security cluster accompanied Nxesi as he released the report. The report was expected to be released earlier in December but was postponed. Cabinet then ordered its release.
The decision was announced after criticism by the ANC of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela about the timing of her own report on the R206 million upgrade.
“[We have] endorsed the recommendations and directed that the report be released to the public,” Cabinet said at the time.
Earlier this year, Nxesi classified the report, saying it would put Zuma’s safety at risk if released.
On October 8, The Western Cape High Court ruled that a Democratic Alliance bid for the release of the report was urgent.
DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko approached the court on September 30 to obtain an order compelling the public works department to provide her with a copy of the task team’s report.
The Mail & Guardian reported recently that Madonsela found in her preliminary report that Zuma misled Parliament, and benefited substantially from about R20 million worth of work that had nothing to do with security features, including a swimming pool.
Madonsela condemned the leak of the report to the newspaper. — Times Live